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Cowboys hope familiar weekly routine fixes K Brett Maher

After an aberrant night for Brett Maher in the wild-card win, the Dallas Cowboys are crossing their fingers that a week of routine will solve what ails their kicker.

DALLAS — Everything with the Dallas Cowboys gets magnified, including the missed extra points by their kicker in the playoffs.

Of course, Brett Maher's misses may not have been an issue had they been limited to one, but the Cowboys' kicker went 1-5 on point-after attempts in Dallas' 31-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday night at Raymond James Stadium.

Maher set an NFL record for most missed extra points in a playoff game. Regular season or otherwise, Maher set a new record in the 63-season history of the Cowboys.

With Maher unable to deliver on such chip shot kicks in the postseason, it generates even more anxiety about the Cowboys' ability to advance to their first NFC Championship Game since 1996.

When Maher met with special teams coach John Fassel and assistant special teams coach Rayna Stewart on Tuesday morning, Fassel made it a point to the specialist to not alter his weekly routine in an attempt to fix a series of in-game mistakes.

"I said, Brett, and I’ll say this and I’m not saying this because you’re right here and kind of need to hear this, but I think he has the best process of any kicker I’ve been around," Fassel said. "He’s very distinct with what he needs to do on Thursday, how many kicks, the distance, the hashes, what he’s going to do on Friday to kind of warm himself up situationally. I think it’s outstanding. I said, ‘Don’t go [away from your process] because that is right.’"

According to Fassel, Maher didn't fully follow through on his swing on the first missed extra point. On the second, Maher's toe hit the ball. The third miss was an overcorrection, and the fourth miss was attributed to "the mental process."

Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters that Maher's job is to "put the ball through the uprights," and noted he had been consistent in 2022. Maher connected on 32 of his 35 field goal attempts and was 50-53 on extra points.

McCarthy compared Maher's horrendous game with the Cowboys' 26-6 embarrassment in Washington in Week 18, which had many questioning the team's preparedness for the playoffs.

Said McCarthy: "Just like our whole football team, we came out of Washington and got punched in the jaw and I think we clearly responded. I think he definitely has that in him."

Dallas isn’t leaving things up purely to hope, however, as they announced on Wednesday that they are bringing in former practice squad kicker Tristan Vizcaino to give the team options in case Maher’s situation is unresolved.

The Cowboys next take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Central Time at Levi's Stadium. Opposing kickers were 14 for 15 on extra points and 7 for 10 on field goals at Levi's Stadium.

Do you trust that Brett Maher will rebound from the wild-card debacle? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.

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