It may go down as the greatest onside kick in NFL history. For the Dallas Cowboys, it couldn’t have happened at a better time. With new coach Mike McCarthy staring an 0-2 start in the face, Greg Zuerlein pulled off the miraculous kick that ultimately could have saved the Cowboys season in Week 2. Zuerlein then went on to kick the game-winning 46-yard field goal as time expired.
The Dallas Cowboys pull off a miracle
The Dallas Cowboys were on the way to an 0-2 start with a trip to Seattle on the horizon. Things were looking bleak Sunday when the visiting Atlanta Falcons held a 39-24 lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Falcons were scoring at will all day, and time was running out for the Cowboys.
Quarterback Dak Prescott got the Cowboys in the end zone twice in a span of 3:08 and the Cowboys defense got the stop it needed. Still, Dallas trailed 39-37 with 1:49 left and no timeouts remaining. That’s when the Cowboys turned to kicker Greg Zuerlein.
Zuerlein, newly acquired this season, bailed the Cowboys out with one of the craziest onside kicks ever before drilling the game-winner. “We dug ourselves such a big hole in the first quarter,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said, according to ESPN. “We’re early in the process of our football team finding out about each other each and every day.”
The Cowboys found a way
Somehow the Dallas Cowboys found a way to pull off the stunning 40-39 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The Cowboys had no business being in a position to win the game Sunday. Whether it was a brilliant comeback or another Falcons’ epic collapse, the Cowboys pulled off the stunner.
Dallas was outscored 20-0 in the first quarter as Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense picked apart the Cowboys’ defense. Atlanta held a 29-10 lead at halftime, but the Cowboys showed signs of life in the third quarter when quarterback Dak Prescott had two touchdown runs and the Falcons were kept off the board. Dallas cut the deficit to 29-24 heading into the fourth quarter.
Atlanta, however, scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to see its lead swell to 39-24 with 7:57 remaining. Prescott hit Dalton Schultz with a 10-yard touchdown pass before Prescott added another TD run to cut the Falcons’ lead to 39-37 with 1:49 left. Then kicker Greg Zuerlein went to work.
Greg Zuerlein talks about his wild onside kick
New onside kick rules make it nearly impossible for the kicking team to recover the kicks. No longer can the kicking team overload players to one side of the field, nor can they get a running start prior to the kick. Despite that, Greg Zuerlein, without using a kicking tee, squibbed a kick that did not appear it would go the required 10 yards. The ball had so much spin to it that it inched its way 10 yards before the Dallas Cowboys pounced on it.
“With the new rules, you’ve got to have something slow where your guys can get to the ball,” Zuerlein said, according to DallasCowboys.com. “In years past you could run, so you could do different things. But now, you’ve got to have something slow. It gives our guys a chance to block and hop on it.”
Zuerlein had never performed this type of kick in a game situation. He was confident in his abilities to get it done. He was also confident when he booted his 46-yard, game-winning field goal as time expired. “Just swing confidently and the rest will take care of itself,” said Zuerlein. “Anytime you get in a hurry or don’t swing confidently, bad things happen.”