The Dallas Cowboys were absolutely dominant against the Buccaneers on Monday night in Tampa, as Dak Prescott and the offense were unstoppable after a couple of ugly early drives, scoring four touchdowns on four straight possessions to end the first half and start the second half. On the other side of the ball, the defense was pitching a shutout through the early third quarter, picking Tom Brady off in the red zone on their lone trip inside the 20 — the first such pick by Brady since 2016 in the playoffs.
However, because this is the Cowboys, there must always be one thing that leads fans to have a minor crisis of faith, and kicker Brett Maher stepped into that role in an historic way on Monday night. Maher missed the extra point after all four touchdowns from Dallas, causing a Peyton Manning meltdown on the Manningcast after the third, setting an NFL Playoff record in the process as the first player to ever miss three in a game, and is the first kicker since at least 1932 to miss four in a game.
Brett Maher is the first player in NFL history to miss 3 extra points in a playoff game (@EliasSports).
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 17, 2023
According to Elias, Brett Maher is the only player in any NFL game since 1932 to miss four extra points in one game, regular-season or playoffs. So there’s that.
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) January 17, 2023
The first two were nearly identical kicks that missed wide right, while the third was an overadjustment he hooked to the left.
That setup some serious drama when he stepped up for the fourth after the Cowboys went on another TD march to start the third quarter. This time, Maher went back to the right and found additional insult by hitting the upright and bounding away to the right for his fourth miss.
It was truly unbelievable to watch, as it was the kicking equivalent of someone getting the yips. It was painful to watch but something you just couldn’t look away from, as every time he trotted out on the field you couldn’t help but be glued to the screen to see if it’d happen again. The good news for Maher, if there can be any on the worst night of his career, was the Cowboys were bludgeoning the Bucs and, at least through three quarters, it didn’t feel like the missed kicks would be costly to the team, just an unbelievable footnote in what should become a win.