Chris Boswell has never missed more than four field goals in a single season in his career. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ fourth-year kicker has already missed three in the team’s first three games, making only one, which puts his season field goal percentage at a legitimately abysmal 25.0.
He hasn’t just missed three out of four field goals, however. He has also missed two out of 11 point after tries, for a total of five missed kicks on the season. That is already tied for the most he has ever had in a full season, which came last year, though that was his best, and two of those misses were blocked—one on a field goal, one on an extra point.
So what do you do when your Pro Bowl kicker has gotten the yips? Well, the only thing you really can do is wait it out for as long as you can until he either gets out of it or forces your hand to release him and try along for somebody else.
Boswell, fittingly, first got his job after the Steelers’ kicker at the time botched a game against the Baltimore Ravens, the team they are about to face. He missed multiple potential game-winning field goals in the fourth quarter, and the Ravens ended up winning in overtime.
That kicker, Josh Scobee, was released shortly after that, and several kickers were brought in for a tryout—if I recall correctly, in the rain. Boswell showed the best composure of the group through adversity and was given the job.
It has been that even keel that has steered him through the first three seasons of his career, but he’s never been in such turbulent waters as he is now. If I were to belabor the analogy, one could say that he at the confluence of two rivers. One direction sees him get back to where he was. The other costs him his job.
Before this season, Boswell had never missed at least one field goal in three consecutive games. He had only missed a field goal in more than one consecutive game once in his career, and that came last season, when he missed kicks in Weeks Three and Four, though the kick in Week Three was blocked.
This is a kicker who has made six field goals in a single game before. Boswell has already shown on a number of occasions that he is more than capable of stepping up to the plate. He has the talent, the ability. Can he convince himself that he is still the same reliable player that earned him $4.2 million per season this offseason?