Cowboys kicker misses 5th playoff PAT, makes 2 FGs

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Dallas kicker Brett Maher missed his fifth extra point of the postseason when his first attempt against San Francisco was blocked before making two field-goal tries.

The Cowboys stuck with Maher for the divisional-round game against the 49ers on Sunday even after he set an NFL record with four misses last Monday night against Tampa Bay before making his final try.

The move looked questionable after Maher’s first attempt against the 49ers was low and blocked by Samson Ebukam.

Maher fared much better on field goals, making both tries but it wasn’t enough as Dallas lost 19-12 to San Francisco.

He made his first field-goal try of the playoffs from a shorter distance in the third quarter when he converted a 25-yarder and then added a 43-yarder in the fourth quarter. He has made his past 12 field-goal attempts.

“Just continue with my process,” Maher said of his approach. “Treat every kick as a separate event. I thought I did a really nice job of that tonight. Leaned into my prep work and was able to hit a couple of big kicks for us here coming down the stretch.”

Maher’s five missed extra point tries in the past two games leave him with the second most in the playoffs in NFL history. Roy Gerela missed six tries in 43 attempts in the 1970s for Houston and Pittsburgh.

Coach Mike McCarthy said he had confidence in Maher but would have gone for a 2-point conversion had Dallas scored a touchdown late to make it a one-point game.

“The reality of it, when we got the ball back next-to-the-last series, the plan was to go down and score and go for 2 for the win,” he said. “That was the thought process. But that had more to do with I just felt our defense was on the field a long time and I thought we picked it up in certain areas in the second half. But we just came up short.”

Dallas signed Tristan Vizcaino to the practice squad this week as insurance, but didn’t activate him for the game.

“Their decision for our kicker was exonerated with his field goals in my mind,” owner Jerry Jones said of the coaching staff sticking with Maher. “I’m proud for him.”

Maher was in the top 10 in field goal success rate during the regular season after making 29 of 32 (91%). He was 50 of 53 on PATs before the playoffs.

There had been a dustup pregame when Maher was warming up. Trent Williams and other 49ers players tried to interfere with his attempts from San Francisco’s side of the field, leading to a brief argument.

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