During the 2014 season, kickers around the league were virtually automatic on point-after attempts. Leaguewide 1230 were attempted, and 1222 were made, resulting in a conversion rate of 99.3 percent. Only six different teams did not make all of their extra point attempts on the season.
The league wanted to shake things up the following year after experimenting with it in the previous in 2014, so they officially moved the line of scrimmage on extra point attempts to the 15-yard line, essentially making them 33-yard field goals. And the results were obvious. 1217 point after attempts were seen leaguewide that year, but only 1146 were made. There were 71 misses during the year, resulting in a conversion rate of just 94.2, a decline, wholesale, of more than five percent, but in terms of quantity of misses, the increase was exponential. A .7 margin for error climbed to 5.8, a more than eightfold increase. Only five teams escaped unscathed.
This season, the leaguewide efficiency rating has dropped even further, now down to 93.8 percent on the season. through the first 15 weeks of the year, 963 extra points were tried, but only 903 were made, resulting in 60 misses on the year.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been one of the handful of fortunate teams not to have missed an extra point as of yet this season, one of only eight teams who have the ability to make that claim, as second-year kicker Chris Boswell has been perfect in connecting on 29 of 29 extra point attempts. Lest we forget, Randy Bullock also connected on his lone attempt for the Steelers two weeks ago.
And here is where we start to get interesting for Sunday’s game, as the Bengals have been one of the teams with the poorest performance on extra point attempts this year; to be more precise, Cincinnati has the second-worst conversion rate in the league, missing six of 29 attempts for a success rate of 79.3 percent.
Cincinnati took action earlier this week, releasing their veteran kicker, Mike Nugent, in order to claim Bullock off waivers once the Steelers released him. Obviously, they are hoping that Bullock has more success than they were seeing recently from Nugent, who has never really been more than a replacement-level kicker. Then again, neither has the journeyman Bullock. But they already rank toward the bottom of the league, so how much could it hurt?
As for Boswell, he is one of just six kickers in the league that has attempted at least 25 extra points and been able to successfully make all of them. Being that these are no longer chip shots, that has become a valid statistic for a play that was once close to automatic.
Of course, he has missed four of 18 field goals on the season, though one was blocked, and two came from a distance of at least 50 yards. Last season, he made 29 of 32 field goal attempts in 12 games, though he did miss an extra point attempt.