Cowboys K Brett Maher's 1st extra point is blocked vs. 49ers, but he rebounds

Brett Maher's first kick on Sunday was blocked, and it might not have been good even if it wasn't.

Maher's first extra point attempt against the San Francisco 49ers, which had as much attention as any first-half extra point in recent memory, was blocked. Fox analyst Greg Olsen pointed out that the kick, which was a bit low, seemed to be heading wide left anyway. Maher's struggles didn't go away after last week's miserable performance.

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Maher did get some redemption in the third quarter. He hit a 25-yard field goal to tie the game. A 25-yard field goal should be automatic for an NFL kicker, but it didn't seem that easy for Maher given his recent issues. In the fourth quarter the Cowboys, perhaps with some confidence from the short field goal, sent Maher out for a 43-yarder and he hit it.

Maher had a rough wild-card playoff game. He became the first player, regular season or playoffs, to miss four extra points in a game. The Cowboys didn't replace Maher as their primary kicker, and publicly supported him all week.

Maher looked shaky in pregame warmups, with the 49ers trying to disrupt his rout, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones also spoke to him on the field. That's unusual, but Maher's whole week has been odd after his meltdown. Maher didn't get a chance to kick in the first quarter, and the Cowboys went for it in field-goal range on fourth-and-one in the second quarter. Later in that drive, the Cowboys scored a touchdown and Maher came on for the extra point.

With all eyes watching, Maher's kick never got to the uprights. Samson Ebukam of the 49ers reached up and blocked it. Perhaps that saved some grief from it missing wide left.

Late in the second quarter the Cowboys had a decision: Go for it on fourth-and-four or try a 53-yard field goal. Before Maher's playoff slump, they might have tried the field goal in a low-scoring game. The Cowboys went for it, and picked up the first down. Dak Prescott was intercepted later in the drive, so Dallas didn't face another decision on Maher.

For another week, the Cowboys scored a touchdown and only got six points out of it because the kicking game couldn't pick up the extra point. It was not a great situation for Dallas with two and a half quarters to go.

Brett Maher of the Dallas Cowboys was under intense scrutiny after his rough game against Tampa Bay. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Brett Maher of the Dallas Cowboys was under intense scrutiny after his rough game against Tampa Bay. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)