Dallas Cowboys’ kicker Brett Maher became one of the latest NFL kickers to struggle with their PATs. It all started during the team’s Week 18 regular season finale vs. the Washington Commanders. Not only did he not get a shot at a field goal, but he missed his only point after touchdown (PAT) attempt of the day.
His bad luck continued in the team’s first playoff game vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card Round. The Cowboys’ offense was electric, scoring four touchdowns in the first 35 minutes of play. Unfortunately for Maher, he missed all four PATs. He finished the game 1 of 5 with no field goal attempts.
In fact, the team was purposely going for it on fourth down to avoid him kicking a field goal. And it even continued in their second playoff game – a loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round – with Maher missing his only extra point attempt of the day. He went 1 of 7 during that horrific 3-game stretch.
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Other NFL Kickers Who Struggle With PAT Attempts
NFL kickers have struggled with their PATs in recent years, which was expected when the league made a new rule that pushed the PAT from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line. The new rule took effect in 2015 – a kick that used to be 20 yards away was suddenly 33 yards away, making it less of a guarantee for most.
The rule made quite the difference for NFL kickers. Between 2000 and 2014, NFL kickers were making anywhere between 98.1% and 99.6% of their extra points. Since 2015, those season averages have dipped between 93.0% (2020) and 94.6% (2022) – that’s a difference of 5% all from one rule change.
And while the 94.6% average for NFL kickers in 2022 was the highest since 2014, only 13 NFL kickers had an average above that – the other 13 (including Maher) fell below that mark. And while it doesn’t sound like much, there were 16 NFL kickers (including Maher) to finish with at least two PAT misses.
Let’s meet who those NFL kickers were – starting with a kicker who made 96.2% of his PATs and ending with the league-worst 84.4% (according to Pro Football Reference, at least 25 PATs attempted).
16. Jake Elliott – 96.2%
Jake Elliott was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 5th Round (No. 153 overall) in 2017, but never played for the team. Instead, he has spent the past six seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. While he led the league in extra points attempted and made, he was also one of the 16 to miss two of them.
Elliott finished the 2022 season making 51 of his 53 extra points. His first miss came in a Week 4 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars – he went 2 of 3. His second miss came in a Week 12 victory against the Green Bay Packers. Over his seven-year career in the NFL, he has made 226 of his 237 extra points.
15. Tyler Bass – 96.0%
Tyler Bass was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 6th Round (No. 188 overall) in 2020 and just completed his third season with the team. After making 57 of 59 extra points as a rookie, he followed that up with a perfect 51 of 51 last season. Unfortunately, that streak came to an end during his 2022 campaign.
Bass ended up making 48 of his 50 extra point attempts in 2022. His first miss came in a Week 12 victory against the Detroit Lions – he went 2 of 3 that day. His second miss came in a Week 16 victory against the Chicago Bears – he went 3 of 4. After 49 career games, he has made 156 of his 160 extra points.
14. Mason Crosby – 94.9%
Mason Crosby was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 6th Round (No. 193 overall) in 2007 and has spent the past 16 years with them. Between 2007 and 2014, Crosby hit 401 of his 405 extra points. And while he hit 36 of 36 during the 2015 season, his percentages started dipping in 2016 and beyond.
In 2022, Crosby made 37 of his 39 extra points. His first miss came in a Week 11 loss to the Tennessee Titans – he went 0 for 1 that day. His second miss came the following week in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles – he went 3 of 4 that day. Over his 16-year career, he has made 733 of his 753 extra points.
13. Cade York – 94.6%
Cade York was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 4th Round (No. 124 overall) in the 2022 NFL Draft and just finished his first season in the league. He played extremely well all year long, but he was one of the 16 NFL kickers to miss at least two extra point attempts. Luckily, they came early and he corrected it.
In 2022, York made 35 of his 37 extra point attempts. His first miss came in a Week 2 loss to the New York Jets – he went 3 of 4 on the day. His second miss came the following week – Week 3 – in a win against the Pittsburgh Steelers – he went 2 of 3. Don’t worry, he made his next 26 extra point attempts.
12. Brett Maher – 94.3%
Brett Maher went undrafted in 2013 and has bounced around the league – as well as the CFL – ever since. He made his NFL debut with the Dallas Cowboys during the 2018 season and spent the following year with the team before spending half of 2021 with the Saints. He rejoined Dallas for the 2022 season.
In 2022, Maher made 50 of his 53 extra point attempts – his 53 attempts was tied for the most in the NFL with Jake Elliott (PHI). His first miss came in Week 4 when he went 1 of 2, while his second miss came in Week 13 when he went 6 of 7. His third miss came in Week 18 before missing five more in the playoffs.
11. Younghoe Koo – 94.3%
Younghoe Koo went undrafted in 2017, but signed with the Los Angeles Chargers as a free agent. He only played in four games with the team in 2017 before signing with the Atlanta Falcons – where he has spent the past four seasons. He made 78 of his 82 extra point attempts in his first three years in Atlanta.
Koo made 33 of his 35 extra point attempts in 2022 after making all 30 of them the year prior. Both of his misses in 2022 came in a Week 10 loss to the Carolina Panthers – he finished the game 0 for 2. The good news is he was money in the 16 other games he appeared in (except Week 16, he had 0 attempts).
10. Graham Gano – 94.1%
Graham Gano went undrafted in 2009 and, while he signed with the Ravens as a free agent, he was cut before the season started. After a brief stint in the UFL, he made his NFL debut with the Washington Commanders and then spent seven seasons in Carolina before landing with the New York Giants in 2020.
In 2022, his third season with the Giants, Gano made 32 of his 34 extra points. Like Younghoe Koo, both of Gano’s misses came in the same game – a Week 11 loss to the Detroit Lions. He was perfect in the other 16 games he played in, including a perfect 5 of 5 in the Giants’ two playoff games not long ago.
9. Eddy Pineiro – 93.8%
Eddy Pineiro went undrafted in 2018, but was quickly signed by the Oakland Raiders as a free agent. While he never actually played for the team, he was eventually signed by the Chicago Bears to replace their kicker. He didn’t play in 2020, but played 5 games in 2021 with the Jets before signing with Carolina.
Pineiro played in all 17 games for the Panthers in 2022, hitting 30 of his 32 extra point attempts. His first miss came in a Week 8 loss to the Atlanta Falcons – he went 2 of 3. His second miss came two weeks later vs. the same opponent – he went 1 of 2 against Atlanta in Week 10. He’s now 66 of 71 in his career.
8. Jason Sanders – 93.2%
Jason Sanders was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 7th Round (No. 229 overall) in 2018 and just finished his fifth season as the team’s starting kicker. In his first four years, Sanders was money with his extra points – hitting 134 of his 137 attempts in that span. Unfortunately, he was caught slippin’ in 2022.
Sanders had a career-high 44 extra point attempts in 2022, but only hit 41 of them – doesn’t sound too bad, but he has never missed more than one extra point in the same season until now. His first miss came in a Week 4 loss to the Bengals (0 for 1), while his next two losses came in Week 10 (3 for 5).
7. Harrison Butker – 92.7%
Harrison Butker was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the 7th Round (No. 233 overall) in 2017, but was sent to the practice squad and eventually picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs – where he has played the past six seasons. He led the league in extra points made and attempted (65 of 69) in 2018.
In 2022, Butker made 38 of his 41 attempts – three misses is bad, but not as bad as 2020 when he finished 48 of 54. His first miss in 2022 came in Week 9 after missing most of the first half of the season. He missed another one in Week 10 and a third one in Week 15, but is 5 of 5 in the playoffs thus far.
6. Brandon McManus – 92.6%
Brandon McManus went undrafted in 2014 and signed with the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent before playing four preseason games with the New York Giants. He was then traded to the Denver Broncos and spent most of the 2014 season as their starting kicker – he has been their starting kicker ever since.
In 2022, McManus made 25 of his 27 extra point attempts and had one of the worst seasons of his career when it comes to field goals (28 of 36). His first miss came in Week 4, going 2 of 3 against the Raiders, and his second miss came in Week 7, going 0 for 1 against the Jets. He’s now 277 of 286 in his career.
5. Nick Folk – 91.4%
Nick Folk was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 6th Round (No. 178 overall) in 2007 and spent the next three seasons with the team before signing with the Jets. He spent seven years in New York and one season with the Buccaneers in 2017 before joining the Patriots, where he has been for four seasons.
In 2022, Folk made 32 of his 35 extra point attempts. He was a perfect 28 of 28 through the first 14 games of the season, but went 0 for 2 in Week 16 against the Bengals (the Pats lost by 4) and missed another one the following week. He has made just 104 of his 115 extra points over the past three years.
4. Evan McPherson – 90.9%
Evan McPherson was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 5th Round (No. 149 overall) in 2021 and had himself an impressive rookie season last year – finishing 28 of 33 with field goals and 46 of 48 from extra points. He was also 14 of 14 with field goals in the playoffs, including 6 of 6 with extra points.
McPherson took a bit of a step back in 2022, hitting just 40 of his 44 extra point attempts and 24 of his 29 field goals. His first extra point miss came in a three-point loss to the Steelers in Week 1. He missed another one in Week 8, another one in Week 14, and one in Week 16. He was also 6 of 7 in the playoffs.
3. Greg Joseph – 87.0%
Greg Joseph went undrafted in 2018 and, while he was signed by the Miami Dolphins as a free agent, he didn’t make the final roster cut. Instead, he signed with the Cleveland Browns and replaced their kicker, who was struggling at the time. He spent 2019 with the Titans before signing with the Vikings in 2021.
In his second season with the Vikings, Joseph made just 40 of his 46 extra point attempts – this comes after hitting 36 of 40 the previous year. He missed an extra point in six games this season – Week 4, Week 6, Week 8, Week 10, Week 12, and Week 18. You just can’t be missing six in a single season.
2. Joey Slye – 85.7%
Joey Slye went undrafted in 2018 – just like Eddy Pineiro and Greg Joseph – and struggled to find a roster spot until the Panthers gave him a shot in 2019. He quickly became the team’s starter, but was ousted by the team early last season and ended up spending the 2021 campaign with three teams.
He played well with the Washington Commanders in six games last year, earning him the starting role in 2022. He went 24 of 28 with his extra points this year, which isn’t good enough – the team already isn’t scoring a lot of touchdowns, so they need all the points they can get. He’s now 106 of 121 in his career.
1. Cairo Santos – 84.4%
Cairo Santos went undrafted in 2014, but it didn’t take long for him to find a home with the Kansas City Chiefs. He spent three full seasons as the team’s starting kicker, but started bouncing around the league in 2017 – he played for five teams between 2017 and 2019 before signing with the Bears in 2020.
In 2022, his third season with the Bears, Santos made just 27 of his 32 extra point attempts – though he was solid with field goals, going 21 of 23. It was an uncharacteristic season for him after hitting 63 of his 65 extra point attempts in his first two seasons in Chicago. He’s now 251 of 264 in his nine-year career.
Who Are the Most Reliable NFL Kickers With PATs?
It’s no secret that NFL kickers are often haunted by what used to be a chip-in, easy PAT attempt, but that doesn’t mean all kickers are struggling with it. In fact, there were three NFL kickers – Will Lutz (Saints), Michael Badgley (Bears/Lions), and Randy Bullock (Titans) – to make 100% of their PATs in 2022.
Lutz made all 33 of his, Badgley made all 33 of his, and Bullock made all 28 of his. There were 10 other NFL kickers to only miss one extra point, headlined by Robbie Gould (49ers) at 98.0%, Jason Myers (Dolphins) at 97.6%, Riley Patterson (Jaguars) at 97.3%, and Daniel Carlson (Raiders) at 97.2%.
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Since extra points are guaranteed anymore, having a reliable kicker is more important than ever before. Not only do they need to hit their field goals consistently, but they need to limit their misses after touchdowns – it could be the difference between 6 points and 7 points, or worse, a win and a loss.
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