Okay, so Mat McBriar is an excellent punter and a poor holder. It was a reasonable excuse: with Brad Johnson as the holder, Nick Folk missed seven field goals in his first two seasons--with McBriar, he had missed seven in twelve games. Hell, it was even reassuring: "The Cowboys don't have a kicking problem, they have a holding problem."
A holding problem, it seemed, was easily curable. Tony Romo stepped into his former role this week and performed well in practice; Folk said as much this week. It was nice indeed, as long as it lasted, which is to say, for around 72 hours this week.
Folk had another miss today, going 1 for 2 in a 20-17 loss to San Diego. This doesn't sound so bad, in and of itself. But one must consider context, and recent history.
The miss was Folk's sixth in his last nine tries, and could very well have changed the outlook of the game. Folk sailed a 42-yarder wide left with 42 seconds left on the clock in the second quarter. Down 10-3, the field goal might have represented a much-needed momentum-boost for Dallas going into intermission.
Of course, Folk missed, and momentum remained firmly on the side of San Diego. The miss grew all the more painful as the minutes wound down--as Romo hit Patrick Crayton for a touchdown to close the deficit to three--and Dallas fans were left to wonder, in a popular refrain from 2009 thus far, what might have been.
If you are concerned, you're in good company. Wade Phillips expressed some not-so-subtle worry over Dallas's kicking situation in his post-game remarks.
"Well, certainly," Phillips said after the loss. "Whatever it is, I'm not sure, but if you aren't going to make all of them, you've got to make a certain percentage. He's not making that certain percentage right now.
"We'll look at all our options."