SAN FRANCISCO – Jerry Jones was all smiles after riding the confidence roller coaster with his rookie kicker.
Field goal attempts don’t get much easier than the chip shot Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey missed in the first quarter. They don’t get much more pressure packed, at least not without playoff implications, than the 48-yarder Bailey put through the pipes with time expiring to force overtime.
Oh, and Bailey hit a gimme to win the game, although Jones acknowledged some nerves until the 19-yarder was good. After the comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers, the owner/general manager felt good about his young kicker.
If Bailey was going to miss, Jones was just glad it happened in a game that ended like this.
“I’m glad we got that on him and it didn’t cost us a game,” Jones said. “It just seasoned him up. He’ll be better for it.”
There was absolutely no excuse for the missed 21-yard attempt. The snap and hold were good. The wind wasn’t blowing. Bailey just pushed it wide right.
Hey, misses happen. A kicker has to move on and hope he gets a chance to redeem himself.
Bailey couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity. If he missed his next kick, the Cowboys would have flown home in an 0-2 hole. And they might have been hunting for a new kicker Monday morning, perhaps calling back Shayne Graham.
With four seconds on the clock, Bailey blocked all that out as he lined up for a 48-yard attempt. He admitted, however, that he was happy to get a chance to make up for his mistake.
“I was more focused on just making that kick, not what happened previously, but it was obviously a good situation to get a little redemption,” Bailey said. “You want to go out there and prove that that’s not who you are. Most people don’t miss kicks like that [chip shot]. It was just one of those situations where I didn’t do my job. I kind of left it out there. You definitely want to get back out there and knock one through and prove that you can do it.”
The Cowboys opted to go for it on fourth-and-5 from the San Francisco 34 the previous possession -- converting en route to a touchdown – but coach Jason Garrett insisted that decision wasn’t due to a lack of confidence in Bailey.
And Bailey gave the Cowboys good reason to believe in him with his next kick.
“The kick that he made into the wind to tie the game in that situation was a big-time kick,” Garrett said. “One of the things that we’ve always liked about him is that he has a real cool demeanor in practice and in games. He strikes the ball consistently well.
“When he doesn’t kick one as well as he wants to, he just comes back and kicks the next one. We felt good about that. He’s a young guy, but he’s mature beyond his years.”
Bailey grew up a little more with the game on the line at Candlestick Park.