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Cowboys to sign kicker Tristan Vizcaino to practice squad, plan to stick with embattled Brett Maher

After Brett Maher's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad night at the office on Monday, the Dallas Cowboys are reaching out for reinforcements at placekicker -- just in case.

Dallas plans to sign Tristan Vizcaino to its practice squad ahead of Sunday's Divisional Round duel with the San Francisco 49ers, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Wednesday, per a source. The team later announced the signing.

Although the Cowboys are adding a leg with experience to their roster mid-postseason, the plan, Pelissero reports, remains to stick with Maher against San Francisco. Vizcaino is merely insurance.

Dallas' signing was necessitated by Maher's historically rough evening in the Cowboys' wild-card win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The veteran kicker missed an NFL-record four extra point attempts in the blowout victory. Maher eventually knocked one home on his final XP try of the night.

Maher, a 33-year-old journeyman, is in his third stint with the Cowboys. Until Monday night, Maher was enjoying a career-best year, hitting 90.6% of his field-goal attempts and connecting on 50 of 53 extra-point attempts. One of the league's best from long distance, Maher is typically as reliable as they come, which is why he still has the support of his teammates and coaches, despite Monday's missteps.

"I believe in the hot hand, and I believe in the yips, absolutely," Dallas special teams coordinator John Fassel said of Maher on Tuesday, per ESPN. "And you know, you wonder sometimes how you get into the yips, and you wonder sometimes how you get back into the hot hand. I think it's keep stepping up to the line and shooting that thing. We missed a couple of free throws [Monday] ... He had a hot hand. Let's face it, he only missed [six] kicks all season. The yips happen, so I expect a hot hand coming up."

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy added, "I think the biggest thing is just to make sure you got a good plan with Brett moving forward. Just make sure he's ready."

Said star quarterback Dak Prescott after the victory: "I'm Money Maher's biggest fan."

Vizcaino is in his fifth season in the NFL. The 26-year-old kicker played in three games this season for the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots, hitting all five of his attempts (two FGs, three XPs) in Arizona's Week 10 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Vizcaino has never played in a postseason game, though he does have experience with San Francisco. He played one game for the 49ers in the final week of the 2020 season.

Dallas takes on San Francisco with a title game berth on the line at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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