The Cowboys said they were comfortable with Dan Bailey trying a 51-yard field goal. They shouldn't have been.
Dan Bailey was only 2-for-4 from 50 yards and beyond in his career before last week, with a career long of 51. He has made 92.7 percent of his field-goal tries inside 50 yards, including 12-of-14 from 40-49 yards. The NFL average goes down as the distance goes up.
This year, the NFL average for all field goals is 87.6. It is 91.2 percent from inside 50 yards, and 66.7 from 50 yards and beyond. The past five years, from 2007-2011, NFL kickers made only 57 percent of their 50-plus field goals.
"For whatever reason, that 50-yard cutoff and above is weird how it works like that," Bailey said. "Really, if you break it down, it’s just the same kick as a 30-yarder or a 20-yarder. There’s just more space in there for things to go wrong. So I guess that would be my assessment of it. As far as how I approach it, I approach it the same as any other kick, just try to kick it a little further, that’s it."
The Cowboys gained only 1 yard, moving from the 34-yard line to the 33, in the final 26 seconds despite having a timeout. Bailey was wide left on a 51-yard attempt. He was asked if 5 yards would have made a difference.
"It was close," Bailey said. "I didn’t miss it by much. Five yards? Maybe. I don’t know."
-- Charean Williams