Remember back in training camp, when we all made fun of the Cowboys for bringing in like 30 kickers to compete for a job? Since July, the Cowboys have had the following kickers under contract: Kris Brown, Shayne Graham, Kai Forbath, David Buehler, and of course Dan Bailey. It’s extremely rare that an NFL team will bring in 5 QBs in camp, much less 5 kickers, and if you’re able to find another team out there that has ever brought in that many kickers to training camp, you’re better at research than me.
It appears the Cowboys picked the right guy.
On the Cowboys’ opening drive Week 2 in San Francisco, they went 77 yards from their own 20 in 13 plays, before eventually stalling at the Niners’ 3 yard line. A TD would have made it sort of a “statement drive,” but at least they’d get on board with 3. In trotted rookie Dan Bailey for an easy 21 yard chip shot. Spot down, kick up, no good, wide right. Demoralizing. I remember thinking (as an Eagles fan), “The Cowboys kickers still stink! Yay!”
Fast forward to :04 left in that game. Down 3, the Cowboys had just driven 44 yards from their own 26 to the Niners’ 30, and Bailey would get a shot at a 48 yarder to tie the game and send it to overtime. Make it, and the Cowboys have new life in OT. Miss, and Bailey is probably cut, the Cowboys are 0-2, and on their way to another potential nightmare start like the one they experienced in 2010.
Bailey drilled it, and hasn’t missed since. He went 6 for 6 against the Redskins, including 3 from beyond 40, one of which was another “ice water in the veins” kick to take the lead with under 2 minutes to go. The Cowboys won that game by 2. Two weeks ago he went 3/3 against the Lions, and 3/3 in New England.
A lot of Cowboys fans like to point out that the Cowboys could very well be 5-0 if only for a play here or a play there. Non-Cowboys fans like to point out that they could just as easily be 0-5 by that same logic. All I know is that last year the Cowboys lost a handful of games because of their kicker – This year they’ve won two because their kicker has been clutch.