Garrett Hartley has a strong performance against Dallas Cowboys
Arlington, Texas -- Among the silver linings in the New Orleans Saints' 30-27 stirring comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys was the solid performance of kicker Garrett Hartley.
Despite some high hikes from long snapper Justin Drescher -- the team's third long snapper in as many games -- holder Chase Daniel got the ball down, and Hartley smoked each kick through the uprights in impressive fashion.
Although some of the points represented lost opportunities for the Saints, most notably Hartley's 28-yarder with 9:30 left in the third quarter that came after Bush had dropped what looked to be a touchdown, Hartley's perfect day helped settle uncertainty that has surrounded the Saints' kicking game in 2010.
Hartley ripped a 50-yard boot, his career best, on his first field-goal attempt to give the Saints a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. Then, on another high snap, he nailed a 45-yard kick to give the Saints a 20-3 lead in the second quarter.
"He made a real big kick early that I thought gave -- you know, whenever you can hit one of those long ones early, he gained a lot of confidence with that kick," Coach Sean Payton said. "I thought Chase handled a tough snap and did a good job of getting one down."
In addition, Hartley was strong on kickoffs, a huge plus for a team seeking to neutralize Dallas' explosive return game. Hartley did get one touchback on a lucky bounce down the sideline, but when it mattered most, after the Saints had gone 89 yards for the go-ahead touchdown, Hartley ripped the kickoff 4 yards deep in the end zone and to one side, effectively sealing much of the field off from return man Dez Bryant.
"I thought we covered kicks well today, I thought that was important, especially that last kick," Payton said. "I thought that was significant."
It was so nice to have Hartley show up for the game. Who knew he could be 100%?!! But will he show up for our next game is the million dollar question...
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