Mac Engel

The Dallas Cowboys kicker who is reliable from 62 but not from 42

The Dallas Cowboys find themselves in the odd position that in order to make their place kicker comfortable they may have to take a few penalties just to move the ball backwards.

Kicker Brett Maher is trust worthy from 42 yards, but from 62 yards he’s automatic.

For the second time in as many weeks, Money Maher nailed a kick from 60-plus yards. In the Cowboys’ blowout win against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, Maher made a 63-yard field at the end of the first half.

Last week against the Jets in New Jersey, Maher made a 62-yard field goal. He now has three field goals of 60-plus yards in his career, the most in NFL history.

“I had no idea about that until (he arrived in the locker room after the game),” Maher said.

Watching replays of his 62-yard kick on Sunday, it had a few more yards in it.

“That’s pushing the limits of it,” he said.

Maher said the longest kicks he’s made are wind-aided “70-plus, down wind and outside; cheating.” The Cowboys are not likely to ask Maher to try a 70-yarder, but it is coach Jason Garrett, who has never been shy about asking his kickers anything.

Maher’s kick on Sunday gave the Cowboys a 27-7 halftime lead.

“It’s impressive, definitely impressive. The guy has a leg on him and that was probably the second most excited I was tonight,” Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said. “When he did that, I ran out there like it was a game winning field goal. But, just credit to him and credit to that field goal team. That’s impressive. I hope he continues to do that.”

The decision to go for these types of kicks is not just made in the moment. The discussion between Maher and the head coach is had, and a max line is determined in advance. Or at least a general proximity.

“That is communicated throughout the week and on game days,” Maher said. “There is a little bit of hesitation in it because it’s that far back, but at the same time everyone is on the same page from that distance.

“I know I hit it pretty solid.”

It is odd to watch Maher line up for a field goal and to see the ball put down on the “wrong side” of the 50-yard line.

Not that any NFL kick is easy, but anything beyond a certain distance is free money. Whereas everyone expects an NFL kicker to make the 42-yard field goal, the 62-yarder is a visit from Santa Claus in May.

“We expect me to make it,” Maher said. “I just try to put a good swing on it and a good hit on it.”

The problem with Maher is not the 60-yarder. He has the leg. The accuracy from the shorter distances remains a trust issue.

On the season, he is 7-for-11. That’s not good.

He is 2-for-4 on kicks between 30 and 49 yards. That’s really not good.

He made all three of his field goal attempts on Sunday, so ... maybe this is the beginning of the type of consistency the team desires.

The Cowboys love Maher’s leg because he is a threat to give them points from a distance most kickers can’t reach.

Maybe they will just have to take a few penalties to get him there.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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