Brett Maher missed only three extra points in the regular season, going 50-of-53. Two of those were blocks. In Monday’s victory over the Bucs, the Cowboys kicker missed an NFL record four extra points.
Cowboys special teams coach John Fassel had some possible explanations for his kicker’s terrible, horrible no good, very bad day.
Two of the team’s three kicking balls were lost in the crowd after extra-point misses, and the Cowboys’ hold procedure was interrupted when an official prohibited the use of white grass blades being as a sightline.
Officials were told last week to watch for kickers and holders using a foreign object during kick attempts.
All season, Cowboys holder Bryan Anger has plucked a blade of turf that is painted white and sets it down as a sightline to ensure he sets the football at Maher’s preferred spot. Before the second attempt, an official ruled Anger could not use the grass blade as a tool.
The official told Anger that rules prohibit “foreign objects” to be used as a spot.
“I hadn’t seen any memo or discussion about it,” Fassel said, via Nick Eatman of the team website. “I didn’t even know about it until our holder came up to tell me what happened. Supposedly, it was emphasized all season, but it’s never been brought up to me my whole career. It’s not an excuse by any means, just very unique to have that happened.”
Fassel used the word “yips” to describe Maher’s off night and has told the kicker to forget “the bad day at the office.”
“I don’t think it was anything physical with Brett,” Fassel said. “We will continue to work. We had a great conversation about it. I said ‘let’s not pretend it didn’t happen.’ But we have a plan, and we’ll go through it this week. I expect football karma to kick in.”