The Los Angeles Rams clinched a 2023-24 NFL playoff spot with a close-fought 26-25 win over the New York Giants over the weekend. Their regular-season journey is far from over, though, as the Rams must now face the rival San Francisco 49ers in a massive Week 18 showdown on Sunday, Jan. 7.
With the Rams needing to win to hold onto the NFC's No. 6 seed, the franchise has decided to shake up its special teams situation ahead of the upcoming clash against the 49ers.
Rams Roster News: Brett Maher Signed
Rams head coach Sean McVay told reporters on Monday that the team is bringing back Brett Maher, per The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue. The 34-year-old kicker began the 2023 campaign with Los Angeles but was released in October due to his inconsistencies from 40 yards or further.
Additionally, K Lucas Havrisik was waived to make room for Maher.
Maher frustrated Rams fans throughout the first half of the campaign. On one hand, the former Nebraska Cornhusker was flawless from the 39-yard line or closer (7-of-7) and only missed one of his 13 extra-point attempts (92.3%) through Los Angeles' first seven games.
On the other hand, Maher couldn't consistently hit long-distance attempts. While his 7-of-9 success rate (77.9%) between the 40- and 49-yard lines isn't awful, he only went 3-of-7 (42.9%) from the 50-yard line or further with two of those misses coming in Week 7 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which ultimately led to his release.
Fortunately for Maher, he gets a second chance due to Havrisik not providing much of an improvement. Like his predecessor, Havrisik was perfect (11-of-11) from 39 yards or closer but only went 4-of-9 (44.4%) from beyond that distance.
That's without mentioning how the 24-year-old also missed two extra-point attempts against the Giants in Week 17, which almost cost the Rams the victory considering that they only wound up winning by one point.
Time will tell if Maher's return makes a difference during Los Angeles' playoff run. Kicking has been a weak spot for the Rams throughout the season, highlighted by their ranking third-worst when it comes to both points per field-goal attempt (2.2) and extra-point conversion percentage (88.6%).
But regardless of who's kicking for Los Angeles in Week 18, Sean McVay's team will face an uphill battle. The Rams are underdogs for their trip to Levi's Stadium even though the 49ers have already clinched the No. 1 seed and may be resting some starters.