The Pittsburgh Steelers were highly unfortunate to lose steady kicker Shaun Suisham for the year with a torn ACL during the preseason. The subsequent injury to Garrett Hartley, his replacement, and the maddening inconsistency of his replacement, Josh Scobee, which got him fired, certainly did not provide a positive spin on his loss.
But through it all, considering the circumstances, the team has been pretty fortunate to stumble upon Chris Boswell, who has been fairly steady himself as a first-year kicker who was signed four games into the season as the Steelers’ fourth option after Suisham, Hartley, and then Scobee.
On the season, Boswell has made 20 of his 22 field goal attempts, and his 20 makes actually ranks him 14th in the league in spite of the fact that he has only played two thirds of the games that have already elapsed.
More importantly, his 20 of 22 makes produces an accuracy of 90.9, which ranks eighth in the NFL currently. His second miss of the year only came on Sunday, but he also made three successful field goals in the game.
One of those field goals came from 51 yards out, and the first-year kicker is actually two for two thus far on kicks from 50 yards and beyond. He is also 13 for 13 on kicks inside of 40 yards. Both of his missed have come from between 40 and 49 yards, where he is five for seven.
Admittedly, this range had become Suisham’s bread and butter, and the strength of the argument for signing him to a relatively healthy contract. The veteran had not missed from that range over the span of the previous two seasons, and had been one of the most accurate kickers over all in that period of time.
It is notable that Boswell has also missed an extra point, but it is far less notable than it once was. The fact of the matter is that only eight kickers this season have yet to miss an extra point attempt after the distance was moved back to 33 yards.
His 15 of 16 ranks him 16th with a 93.8 percent accuracy on extra point attempts, which is exactly the league average on extra point attempts this season. Collectively, there have been 913 extra point attempts this season and 856 makes, meaning there have been 57 misses. Amazingly, the Jaguars have missed five.
It is important that the Steelers have a kicker that they can feel some level of confidence in sending out there to make a field goal. This is precisely the reason that they were forced to cut Scobee after four games in spite of his veteran resume after missing four out of 10 in the first four games.
The fact that the Steelers let Boswell attempt a 51-yard field goal in the last game says that he has earned that level of comfort. I don’t know that he we be able to keep his job next year when Suisham is healed, but the fact that it is a legitimate discussion to be had is something Pittsburgh should be grateful for.