IRVING, Texas – He had four as a rookie last year. Now, he’s added two this season.
One might think Dan Bailey is getting used to kicking game-winning field goals. But even after his sixth career game-winner on Sunday, a 40-yarder that gave the Cowboys an emotional 20-19 win over the Bengals, Bailey said the feeling never gets old.
“Game-winners are always fun,” Bailey said. “You take them every time. I don’t know if you can say one is better than the other, but this game obviously was so special. I will never forget this game and what it took to win it.”
Knowing the emotions that were surrounding the team, Bailey said it’s not easy to block out the distractions, but said it was a must before that last-second kick.
“You have to treat it like every other kick,” Bailey said. “And even though you know it’s not, you have to be like that. You trust yourself, trust your leg and trust the other 10 guys out there to do their job. It’s just football at that point. Everything else we’ve been dealing with is life. It’s pretty simple really – you just go out and kick it. As far as football goes, it’s pretty easy to do that compared to everything else going on.”
Bailey said he credits his teammates more than himself for that last play.
“The offense did a great job to drive us down there at the end and get us in position. The defense stepped up at the end to get the ball back. I had the easy part. I had to go do my job and make the kick. But the other guys really deserve the credit for making it happen.”
Bailey didn’t deny this game-winner will rank up there pretty high, mainly because of the emotions the Cowboys were fighting, surrounding teammate Jerry Brown’s tragic death and the arrest of nose tackle Josh Brent.
“It’s been a hard week. Difficult week,” Bailey said. “It was really quiet around the hotel and plane. Rightfully so. We all did a good job of handling the situation. I think we tried the best we could to handle it and we did a good job. It’s not going to make it any easier moving forward.”
Bailey kicked a 38-yard game-winning field goal to beat the Browns in overtime on Nov. 18. He also made a 32-yarder at the end of regulation to force overtime.
Last year, Bailey made game-winners to beat San Francisco, Miami and the Redskins twice. Two of those four game-winning kicks occurred in overtime, including the one against the 49ers in which he made a clutch field goal to force the extra session.