Jason Witten: Morten Andersen has nothing on Jeff Heath

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- When Jeff Heath’s point-after attempt sliced well to the right, he could hear Jason Witten’s voice.

“Hey, Heath, get your head out of your ass,” the veteran Dallas Cowboys tight end yelled.

Witten was smiling when he said it. The Cowboys had a 33-3 lead over the San Francisco 49ers, despite Heath’s missed extra point, and they were on their way to a 40-10 win.

Oh, and there’s this: Heath is a safety -- not a kicker.

“He was busting my chops a little bit,” Heath said. “He was just messing, obviously.”

Witten was quite complimentary of Heath after the game.

“Hey, look, man, we saw Morten Andersen go into the Hall of Fame in Canton,” Witten said. “I mean, I don’t know that he has anything on Jeff Heath. This is pro football, going in there and doing a 33-yard extra point.”

The Cowboys needed Heath to take on the kicker responsibilities because Dan Bailey suffered a groin injury while warming up on a second-quarter drive. Heath could tell that special-teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia was not joking when he told Heath to be ready.

The last time the Cowboys had a non-kicker or punter handle kickoff duties was Oct. 27, 2008, when safety Pat Watkins handled one kickoff. In 1961, the second season of the franchise, tight end Dick Bielski made all 10 point-after attempts and was 6-of-9 on field goal tries.

Heath did not have a field goal attempt, but only because the Cowboys chose to go for it on fourth down from the San Francisco 15. But unlike Bielski, Heath’s point-after attempts came from the 23-yard line. His first attempt fell through after hitting the right upright. After he sliced the second, he was true on his third attempt.

“I didn’t know how I was going to feel, but I was pretty nervous going in,” Heath said. “I don’t know why. I wanted to make them, obviously. I didn’t want to go out there and just look like an idiot, so I think I was a little nervous. Then with the rush, especially with this team, they have really bug guys that rush the field goal, so I think I was kind of too fast on my first couple.”

The last non-kicker/punter to make multiple extra points in a game was linebacker Ted Thompson, the current general manager of the Green Bay Packers, who made four PATs for the Houston Oilers in 1980.

The last time Heath kicked in a game was when he was a senior at Lake Orion (Michigan) High School in 2008. He made a 48-yarder in the final seconds of a state quarterfinal matchup. He has kicked in practice some the past few years and even got the Cowboys some time off during training camp this summer by making a kick at the end of a practice.

The Cowboys chose to go for a 2-point conversion after Witten’s touchdown because Heath did not have a chance to work with holder Chris Jones and snapper L.P. Ladouceur. During the halftime break, he made three 33-yard field goals.

“Jeff Heath is a great athlete,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said. “He can do it all. He can run. He can hit. He can tackle. Seems like he’s always where the ball is. I think it’s funny he can also kick field goals.”

The Cowboys aren’t sure if Bailey will be able to kick next week against the Washington Redskins. They will likely bring in a kicker, at least for the practice squad, during the week. Heath, however, isn’t about to say that he can handle the job full-time.

“Don’t know about that,” he said. “I hope they do, obviously [if Bailey can’t kick]. I’m sure there’s a lot of guys more qualified for the job than me.”