After yesterday’s game, it is probably pretty much set in stone that the Randy Bullock Era in the Steel City is soon to be over. The Pittsburgh Steelers had Bullock active for the game, but so was Chris Boswell, their starting kicker for most of the past two seasons, and he was able to perform all of his usual tasks—in the snow, no less—without the team needing to call upon Bullock.
The veteran kicker, of course, was originally signed by the Steelers last Saturday when they learned that Boswell suffered an abdominal injury that sidelined him for last week’s game against the Giants. Coincidentally, Bullock started the season with the Giants while their kicker was serving a suspension, but he did not attempt a field goal in his one game with them.
He did attempt three with the Steelers against the Giants and he made all three of them, including one from 44 yards, in addition to a point after try, and he generally handled the kick return duties well. But the Steelers obviously do not need to have two kickers on the 53-man roster—let alone on the game-day active roster—so it is clear that the team will be releasing Bullock shortly.
Boswell attempted two field goals for Pittsburgh yesterday, making both of them, with a long of 39, and he also went three for three on extra points following the Steelers’ three touchdowns. His nine points on the day were the only other points scored by a Steeler that was not named Le’Veon Bell.
While he had three of his six kickoffs returned, the team’s kick coverage units did a fantastic job, specifically Roosevelt Nix and Anthony Chickillo, who combined to register three special teams tackles on those returns.
The first kickoff returned came midway through the first quarter, fielded at the one-yard line. Nix made the tackle at the 14-yard line after a 13-yard gain, or 11 yards fewer than the Bills would have netted with a touchback. Boswell’s kickoff to start the third quarter was fielded at the goal line, but Nix was there again to make the tackle at the 16. Chickillo made the tackle at the Steelers’ 18-yard line following a 19-yard return on a kickoff fielded a yard deep in the end zone.
All in all, Boswell’s day really could not have gone much better, and he appears to be back up and running going forward. Of course, the Steelers will keep Bullock’s number on speed dial, but he should expect to be released as early as later today, or certainly by practice on Wednesday. If he practices, he gets paid for the week.
Still, he did everything that was asked of him while in Pittsburgh as their rent-a-kicker. They have found some of their best kickers off the scrap heap, after all, including Shaun Suisham, who liked Bullock was a journeyman before finding stability and a great deal of success with the Steelers. But it’s time for Boswell to continue to write his chapter.