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Greg Zuerlein goes from goat to hero in a week

Greg Zuerlein had the bull’s eye on him in Dallas-Fort Worth last week whether he realized it or not. Cowboys fans blamed the kicker for their loss to the Buccaneers in the season opener.

Zuerlein, who was returning from offseason back surgery, missed a 31-yarder, an extra point and a 60-yarder in the season opener. The Bucs won 31-29 on a field goal with two seconds left, but Tom Brady had his team in position for a touchdown if that’s what was needed for victory.

What a difference a week makes.

Zuerlein is the toast of the town after a 56-yard game-winner on the final play. It kept the game from going to overtime and got Mike McCarthy off the hook for some questionable clock management in the waning seconds.

“It’s more about trusting the process,” Zuerlein said in quotes distributed by the team. “You don’t throw out your swing because you missed a kick. You go and practice and figure out what you did wrong and you try and correct that. That’s all it really is. Just be confident and trust the swing.”

Dak Prescott got Zuerlein in position with an 11-play, 49-yard drive. Zuerlein’s right leg did the rest.

“That’s football,” Zuerlein said. “I don’t think you’re ever really out of it. When they have the ball, you’re just trying to stay warm into the net because you never know what’s going to happen. We got the ball back, and I’ve been in situations in the past where you might get a chance here. Just stay warm into the net and wait.”