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‘I play pissed off’

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 Robbie Gould is a no nonsense veteran the kind of guy who s dedicated himself to scientific things like wind direction and barometric pressure and how humidity affects the flight of a football But the 40 year old kicker badly wanted to avoid jinxing his long and still growing postseason field goal streak following Sunday s 19 12 win over the Cowboys And who can blame him for being superstitious on a day that was all about special teams weirdness including during pre game warmups On the 11 year anniversary of Kyle Williams infamous punt return flubs in the 49ers NFC Championship Game loss to the Giants Ray Ray McCloud III had one of his own when he fumbled a punt return early in the third quarter at his own 21 yard line The turnover drained the noise and energy from Levi s Stadium and in a contest in which points were at a premium seemed like it might end a 49ers winning streak that had begun in late October The defense held the Cowboys to a field goal and McCloud somewhat made amends for the gaffe with a 53 yard return on the ensuing kickoff But it was still an erratic game for the 49ers return and coverage units which had been solid in the second half of the regular season but allowed two long kickoff returns including one in the fourth quarter on which Gould was forced to make the tackle himself The Cowboys of course had their own special teams oddities including a kicker Brett Maher who was coming off one of the most high profile cases of the yips in recent memory four missed extra point attempts in the opening round of the playoffs Maher also was part of two seldom seen events during pregame warmups The first occurred when the 49ers wide receivers got into a turf war with the Cowboys kicking battery in the middle of the field The supposition at the time was that the 49ers were trying to get inside Maher s head before the game San Francisco s receivers however said it was about space they wanted to warm up and the Cowboys refused to move It was time to get out of the way said receiver Brandon Aiyuk Dallas special teams coach John Fassel rushed into the fray So did 49ers tackle Trent Williams who seemed to have words with punter Bryan Anger who was serving as the holder at the time Maher s pregame routine was further disrupted when team owner Jerry Jones walked over to talk to him and Anger Maher made both of his field goal attempts Sunday but his second quarter extra point try was blocked by the 49ers Samson Ebukam and the kicker s struggles influenced Dallas fourth down decisions in the red zone throughout the game While Maher wobbled Gould was unshakable He hit all four field goal attempts including a 50 yard try just before the half He accounted for 13 of San Francisco s 19 points and is now 29 of 29 on field goals and 39 of 39 on extra points for his career in the postseason No other kicker in NFL history has hit even 25 field goals in the playoffs without a miss McGlinchey was injured at the end of last season and remembers standing next to Gould near the end of the 49ers divisional round game in frozen snow covered Green Bay just before the kicker was sent in for a game winning 45 yard attempt with four seconds remaining McGlinchey said Gould was eager for the opportunity and of course nailed that kick too He just wants that moment he said Sunday s weather was decidedly California like sunny and in the mid 50s but it was the team s windiest home game of the season Gould said there was a left to right crosswind in the south end of the stadium where he hit his 50 yarder and the attempt drifted right and through the uprights accordingly As soon as the Eagles beat the Giants Saturday Gould started looking at what the weather might be like in Philadelphia for what will be the 49ers third NFC Championship Game in four seasons They re not calling for any precipitation at the moment although Gould knows other things will be raining down from the stands The 49ers kicker said he welcomes the catcalls and he wants the pressure too Subscribe to The Athletic for in depth coverage of your favorite players teams leagues and clubs Try a week on us Credit https theathletic com 4116318 2023 01 23 49ers cowboys playoffs robbie gould
‘I play pissed off’

Robbie Gould

Robbie Gould is a no-nonsense veteran, the kind of guy who’s dedicated himself to scientific things like wind direction and barometric pressure and how humidity affects the flight of a football. But the 40-year-old kicker badly wanted to avoid jinxing his long — and still growing — postseason field goal streak following Sunday’s 19-12 win over the Cowboys.

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And who can blame him for being superstitious on a day that was all about special teams weirdness, including during pre-game warmups?

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On the 11-year anniversary of Kyle Williams’ infamous punt-return flubs in the 49ers’ NFC Championship Game loss to the Giants, Ray-Ray McCloud III had one of his own when he fumbled a punt return early in the third quarter at his own 21-yard line.

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The turnover drained the noise and energy from Levi’s Stadium and, in a contest in which points were at a premium, seemed like it might end a 49ers’ winning streak that had begun in late October.

The defense held the Cowboys to a field goal and McCloud somewhat made amends for the gaffe with a 53-yard return on the ensuing kickoff. But it was still an erratic game for the 49ers’ return and coverage units, which had been solid in the second half of the regular season but allowed two long kickoff returns, including one in the fourth quarter on which Gould was forced to make the tackle himself.

The Cowboys, of course, had their own special teams oddities, including a kicker, Brett Maher, who was coming off one of the most high-profile cases of the yips in recent memory — four missed extra-point attempts — in the opening round of the playoffs.

Maher also was part of two seldom-seen events during pregame warmups.

The first occurred when the 49ers wide receivers got into a turf war with the Cowboys kicking battery in the middle of the field. The supposition at the time was that the 49ers were trying to get inside Maher’s head before the game. San Francisco’s receivers, however, said it was about space — they wanted to warm up and the Cowboys refused to move.

“It was time to get out of the way,” said receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

Dallas’ special teams coach John Fassel rushed into the fray. So did 49ers’ tackle Trent Williams, who seemed to have words with punter Bryan Anger, who was serving as the holder at the time.

Maher’s pregame routine was further disrupted when team owner Jerry Jones walked over to talk to him and Anger.

Maher made both of his field goal attempts Sunday, but his second-quarter extra point try was blocked by the 49ers’ Samson Ebukam and the kicker’s struggles influenced Dallas’ fourth-down decisions in the red zone throughout the game.

While Maher wobbled, Gould was unshakable.

He hit all four field goal attempts, including a 50-yard try just before the half. He accounted for 13 of San Francisco’s 19 points and is now 29-of-29 on field goals — and 39-of-39 on extra points — for his career in the postseason. No other kicker in NFL history has hit even 25 field goals in the playoffs without a miss.

McGlinchey was injured at the end of last season and remembers standing next to Gould near the end of the 49ers’ divisional-round game in frozen, snow-covered Green Bay just before the kicker was sent in for a game-winning, 45-yard attempt with four seconds remaining. McGlinchey said Gould was eager for the opportunity and, of course, nailed that kick, too.

“He just wants that moment,” he said.

Sunday’s weather was decidedly California-like — sunny and in the mid-50s — but it was the team’s windiest home game of the season. Gould said there was a left-to-right crosswind in the south end of the stadium where he hit his 50-yarder, and the attempt drifted right and through the uprights accordingly.

As soon as the Eagles beat the Giants Saturday, Gould started looking at what the weather might be like in Philadelphia for what will be the 49ers’ third NFC Championship Game in four seasons. They’re not calling for any precipitation at the moment, although Gould knows other things will be raining down from the stands.

The 49ers’ kicker said he welcomes the catcalls and he wants the pressure, too.

Subscribe to The Athletic for in-depth coverage of your favorite players, teams, leagues and clubs. Try a week on us.

Credit: https://theathletic.com/4116318/2023/01/23/49ers-cowboys-playoffs-robbie-gould/

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