The second-year kicker from USC showed his leg strength kicking off as a rookie, and earner raves over this summer for his accuracy, as well.
So it definitely was a surprise Sunday night when Buehler shanked his only field goal of the night in the Cowboys' 13-7 loss to the Washington Redskins, pushing a very makeable 34-yarder to the right in the second quarter.
"I just pushed it a little bit," Buehler said. "I missed it — I have no excuse. I have to make those kicks. Every point is important."
That statement never has been more true than Sunday night. Had Buehler converted his field goal, the score would have been tied, 3-3, and might have factored into the Dallas coaches' decision to try the pitch to running back Tashard Choice, which Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall stripped from Choice and returned for what turned out to be the winning score.
Now, like a pitcher in baseball who gives up a costly home run, Buehler has to erase the miss from his memory.
"I've got to let it go," he said. "Everyone says kickers have to have a short memory — that's true."
The Cowboys have been known to replace kickers in mid-season, including Nick Folk, who was cut during the 2009 campaign. But Buehler said he does not feel like he is on a short leash with the Dallas coaches, and said the situation — opening the NFL season on national television at Washington's notoriously loud stadium didn't affect his first NFL field goal attempt.
"No," he said when asked if one miss has him watching over his shoulder. "I have just got to go out and do my job.
"(Sunday's game was) no different than what I had to go through last year. I have a year under my belt. I have played on the road. It's like when I was at SC — we played some road games with a lot of crowd noise there, too."
Buehler also refused to blame the weather conditions Sunday night, and dismissed the idea of opening-night jitters.
"That had nothing to do with it," he said. "I thought I struck it fairly well. There was a little breeze there, so I wasn't able to kick off as deep as I usually do, but it didn't affect (the field goal).
"I was as calm as ever — it was like another preseason game. I was as prepared as ever, I felt poised, I felt steady — I just missed. That's kicking — it happens. It was one kick. I'll be fine against Chicago."
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