Panthers kicker Olindo Mare didn't go looking for excuses Sunday afternoon.
His missed a 36-yard field goal with 5:12 remaining cost the Panthers what would have been a 26-24 lead over the Atlanta Falcons and, while it may not have ultimately changed the outcome, there was no denying Mare's untimely miss had a critical psychological impact on both sides.
It was a bad miss at a bad moment for the Panthers, not unlike the 31-yarder Mare missed at the end of the Minnesota game in October.
It was enough that head coach Ron Rivera said "we will have to sit down and visit with him on that," a not-so-subtle indication of the frustration over a second critical miss this season.
"I haven't seen it. I don't need to see it. It didn't go in," Mare said, standing in front of his locker 45 minutes after the game.
"Regardless of how good I think I hit it or how windy it was or whatever ... I've made kicks in windier conditions. I have no excuses. The only excuse is I just didn't do my job."
Mare, 38, joined the Panthers after the lockout was lifted, signing a four-year, $12-million contract to replace John Kasay, the last remaining original Panther. It was a controversial move, considering Kasay's 16-year history with the Panthers.
In addition to converting 81 percent of his field goals in 14 previous NFL seasons, Mare was signed to help the Panthers take advantage of new kickoff rules leading to more touchbacks.
He had made 19 of 24 field goals entering Sunday's game but two of his misses (in eight attempts) had come from 30 to 39 yards, a range from which he had made 86.4 percent entering this season.
When Mare's go-ahead field goal missed wide left again - to the same side and at the same end of the stadium as his miss against Minnesota - he trotted off the Bank of America Stadium field to boos.
He spoke to no one on the sideline when he came off the field, a pattern Mare said he follows whether he makes a kick or misses one.
"I don't run for a pat on the back when I make them, and I'm not walking away when I miss them," Mare said.
For a team that had lost a 16-point halftime lead, the field goal attempt was a chance to regain the lead against an Atlanta team that had suddenly found its offensive rhythm. Two plays after Mare's miss, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan connected with Julio Jones on a 75-yard touchdown pass that sent the Atlanta lead to eight points.
"(Mare's) a professional. He's been in this league a long time. He's made a lot of kicks. He's going to handle his business," Panthers tight end Greg Olsen said.
"He's going to do what he has to do to get it fixed just like the rest of us. We go out there and miss passes or whatever. We come back and work. That's just the nature of the business. He's a professional. He knows what he has to do to get it corrected, and there's no doubt he will."
Mare said he had what he thought was his best pre-game warm-up of the season. The good vibes didn't carry over, however.
"I felt really good. I was excited," Mare said. "When it comes down like that, you're eager to get out there. I wanted to go out there and do my part. It didn't work."
Asked if he sensed a pattern to his misses, Mare suggested he hadn't. When he studies the tape, it might reveal what happened, but it won't change the result, Mare said.
"I thought I hit it well ... but obviously it wasn't good enough," he said.
Asked if he was frustrated by his misses, Mare paused.
"Whatever word you want to use ... I'm sure it is for everybody else in this building. Especially the ones you're supposed to make or you need to make. The ones that count," Mare said.
"I've missed two this year. ... I'll get through it. If I didn't have so many years behind me I could go back and look at it would be tough, but the fact that ... you know you're not going to make them all but these are the ones you have to make, that's the frustrating part."