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Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey keeps focused

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Dan Bailey didn't want to sound as if he was giving a cliché-type answer.

The Dallas Cowboys kicker couldn't help it because this is how he thinks.

After making 30 consecutive field goals, Bailey was wide left on a 53-yard try at the end of regulation in Sunday's game against Houston.

The Cowboys depend on Bailey, who has been just as important as running back DeMarco Murray during this 4-1 start to the season.

Bailey got another chance to redeem himself in overtime and made a 49-yarder to give the Cowboys a 20-17 victory.

"The guy's pretty damn good," coach Jason Garrett said.

Yeah, Bailey is. He's missed just three field goals in his last 29 games.

Sunday afternoon Bailey missed what most people wearing stars on their helmets thought was automatic. Holder Chris Jones thought Bailey's 53-yard try was going to be good, likewise for cornerback Brandon Carr.

Bailey pushed it slightly left and he had to wait for another chance.

Bailey said he wasn't happy with himself after missing the kick, his first since last season in a Week 4 game at San Diego, and had to forget about it quickly because that's all you can do.

"I'm not trying to give you a cliche but honestly, you just have to put it behind you," Bailey said of his thoughts between kicks. "It makes it easier and when you have confidence in the guys in front of you, the whole operation."

In overtime, Dez Bryant made this incredible leaping catch for 37 yards to push the Cowboys into Texans' territory. Two runs by Murray and the Cowboys were set for a third-down play.

Bailey doesn't watch the proceedings late in games. He just focuses on his techniques and kicks a ball through the net while the offense drives down the field. If he follows the techniques with his steps toward the ball, twisting his hips and following through with his leg, all is good. He's not part of the discussion in terms of which hash-mark the ball should go on. Before the game, Bailey speaks with special teams coach Rich Bisaccia about which direction he's most comfortable kicking toward.

It's a narrow-minded focus that's allowed Bailey to emerge as one of the best kickers in the NFL.

After the two Murray runs, Garrett could have run another play on third down, but elected to let Bailey win the game.

Bailey knew it was third down but didn't mind because if it's bobbled snap and a few yards are lost, he's got the confidence to make the kick again from a longer distance.

"It's confidence in the whole unit," Bailey said. "During the week, we put a lot of work into it and work on doing the best that we can. We all try to take that one-for-one mentality so if you don't make one put it behind you and go and try to make the next one."

It's kinda like a baseball player who gets four at bats or a shooting guard looking for his shot on 10-to-15 touches a night.

If you miss the first shot, no big deal, wait for another chance.

"Everyone is going to miss," Tony Romo said. "Dan is the best kicker in the league and as great as he is he's going to miss at some point. But the funny part is he's lucky enough and he's going to make the second one. I think we all felt comfortable with that. Most of the time when you miss and have those situations, you lose the game. So it's a great, great feeling to be able to have your miss be there and yet still win the game. Not everyone is afforded that opportunity from quarterbacks to kickers all over the place."