Dallas Cowboys kicker Brett Maher needs to get back on track Sunday in order for the Cowboys to pull off the upset over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC's divisional round. Maher is coming off a brutal wild-card game in which he missed an NFL-record four extra points.
The Cowboys won the game despite Maher's struggles, and then immediately signed another kicker to their practice squad ahead of Sunday's road game against the 49ers.
Maher responded with a strong practice Thursday, and will look to get back on track against the 49ers on Sunday. The 49ers, however, have other ideas.
During Maher's pregame warmups, some members of the 49ers attempted to disrupt his kicking drills.
Words were exchanged, but Maher was allowed to continue warming up. That didn't go super well. Maher hit his next kick, but was spotty throughout warmups.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones eventually came out on the field to speak with Maher. That might be unusual for most team owners, but Jones often chats with Maher before games.
There's plenty of pressure on Maher to get things right Sunday. The Cowboys looked dominant against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and didn't need Maher to convert those kicks to win the contest.
It could be a different story against the 49ers, who boast a dominant defense. If Dallas' offense can't convert like it did against the Buccaneers, the game could come down to whether Maher can hit multiple field goals.
If pregame warmups are any indication, the 49ers are going to do whatever they can to throw Maher off his game as he tries to recover from last week's disastrous performance.
San Francisco was successful on Maher's first try of the day, blocking his extra-point attempt after the Cowboys scored a touchdown to take a 6-3 lead in the second quarter.