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Finishing kick never happened

Normally clutch Mare couldn't get it straight

MIAMI -- Dolphins kicker Olindo Mare is usually a clutch performer. Mare, in his seventh NFL season, is second all time with an .829 field goal percentage.

Kicking off the Pro Player Stadium dirt, however, has been a daunting task.

Mare missed two field goals off the dirt yesterday, allowing the Patriots second and third chances to secure a 19-13 overtime victory. New England took advantage of its renewed life and scored on a 82-yard catch-and-run by Troy Brown from Tom Brady in the extra session.

Mare, who made his first two field goals, had a chance to kick the winner with just under two minutes remaining in regulation. New England defensive tackle Richard Seymour got his left hand on the ball to deflect it away.

After the game, Mare got dressed and exited without speaking to reporters. Miami special teams coach Keith Armstrong was left to defend him.

When asked what happened on the block, Armstrong said, "I can't tell you right now. I haven't watched the tape and don't want to nail anybody. That's just my approach on things."

Armstrong said his players gave him varying accounts of what happened.

"I've heard different stories," he said. "Some people say there was push. Some people say there was no push. Some people say it was kicked low. Some say it's high. Who knows? When we watch the tape, we'll find out."

Seymour said he had a premonition he would block the field goal immediately before it happened and that Tedy Bruschi had discussed it with him prior to the play.

"I saw it before it happened," Seymour said. "Me and Tedy were right there talking. He was like, `All right Seymour. This is a big play for you right here.' I was like, `OK, you give me a big push here and I'm going to block it.' "

Seymour said the field was a factor.

"The dirt was somewhat an advantage because you cannot get any traction to anchor in on the dirt," he said. "It is an even playing field, but I think it is harder for them because they kept sliding back on the dirt."

Mare again had an opportunity to win the game with a 35-yard field goal in overtime, but pushed it wide right.

"Like anything else, when you get an opportunity to put somebody away, you've got to put them away," Armstrong said.

Mare has missed four of his 11 field goal attempts this year, but the two misses yesterday were the first that were game-deciding.

"These are situations all kickers look forward to," Armstrong said. "They look forward to being put in that situation to get a chance to prove themselves. At times, you do it. At times you don't."

Armstrong believes Mare will rebound.

"He'll handle it," Armstrong said. "He'll bounce back. He'll be ready to go. That's part of our job description."

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