Over the last couple of seasons, it seems that, by and large, the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base has finally come to accept that Shaun Suisham is a pretty good kicker to have, generally reliable from within 50 yards, though the draw of the kickers with booming legs that can kick 50+ yarders with some regularity still has many dreaming for a replacement.
The problem is, of course, that it’s not easy to find a good, reliable kicker.
Suisham, on the other hand, has proven to be just that since joining the Steelers. In his five years with the Steelers, Suisham has made 87.9 percent of his field goal attempts. If you look at the career averages of all kickers throughout the history of the league, that would rank third, behind Justin Tucker and Dan Bailey, who have three and four years of experience in the league, respectively.
2014 was another successful campaign for Suisham, as he connected on 29 of his 32 field goal attempts, with two of the three misses coming from beyond 50 yards, and one of them could likely be attributed to a poor hold.
Suisham did have one baffling miss from about 25 yards out this season—one of only two that he has missed from within 30 yards in his career with the Steelers—but these things do happen, and it’s hard to complain when your kicker makes over 90 percent of his field goals and the misses are mostly low-percentage attempts.
Where Suisham has excelled most has been, quite frankly, where it matters the most, in that sweet spot between 30 and 49 yards out. That is generally to distance range in which most field goal attempts come, and the Canadian place kicker has generally thrived in this area.
This season, in fact, he went 16 for 16 in that range in the regular season, including 10 from within the range of 40-49.
Including the postseason and dating back to 2012, Suisham has actually connected on 32 consecutive attempts from within the 40-49-yard range, which is certainly an impressive feat. He scored the Steelers’ first nine points, and nine of 17, in their playoff loss on Sunday.
In his career with the Steelers, Suisham has connected on 78 of 88 field goal attempts from between 30 and 49 yards, including 34 of 38 from 30-39 and 44 of 50 from 40-49. That translates to an accuracy percentage of nearly 89 percent, and he has only become more reliable in this area over time.
Suisham has only dipped below average in one of his five seasons with Pittsburgh. Four of his five seasons have seen him make over 90 percent of his attempts. He struggled, however, in 2011, missing seven out of 19 field goal attempts from 30-49. In his other four years combined, he has only missed three in that range. He may never be the touchback machine on kickoffs that we see with many teams, but as this season has shown, he is the most reliable where it matters the most.