This might be small solace right now, but this most crushing and frustrating result of the season to date was also the brightest moment yet for Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Chris Boswell, who for the only time in four tries this season was able to come out of a game without missing a kick.
The fourth-year kicker, coming off a Pro Bowl season, has had an inauspicious start to the year, missing three of four field goal attempts in the first three games and on two of 11 point after attempts. He missed a field goal in each of the first three games before finally making one last week.
Last night, he connected on two field goals, although he was spared the opportunity to miss on a point after try. The Steelers only scored one touchdown, and they went for a two-point conversion that at the time did tie the score.
In fairness to Boswell, three of his first four field goal attempts did come from 40 yards or beyond, and some came in poor field and weather conditions. He missed all three that came from the 40-49-yard range, making the one attempt that came from 30-39.
Both of his attempts last night came from that range. The first was virtually from extra point distance, at the Baltimore Ravens’ 16-yard line, connecting from 34 yards out. He also hit from 39 yards in the middle of the second quarter.
But I’m frankly not concerned about where the kicks come. He really just needed—needs—to get some makes under his belt. He came into this game with a 25 percent field goal success rate. He got it up to 50 percent now, making three of six attempts on the year.
It has to be a blow to the confidence to come out of each of your first three games of a year having missed a field goal. He had only one time ever in his career prior to this season missed at least one field goal in consecutive games. That happened last year, over two games, and one of the misses was actually a blocked kick.
Now he can come out of the game and not be the focus of negative attention. He took it especially hard after he missed a 43-yard game-winner in overtime during the season opener against the Cleveland Browns in the rain on a snap that was high.
It’s time for him to put that all past him and head into the second quarter of the season with a blank slate. He’s made two field goals in his last game. That’s as far back as his memory should go.
On the plus side, he also did well on four kickoffs. One went for a touchback, while the other three resulted in stops inside the 25. One was a stop at the 16.