Six missed field goals during a season is not good, but it’s not typically a humungous amount, especially in today’s game when an average field goal kicker could have upwards of 30-35 or even 40 attempts in a season.
But Chris Boswell missed his fifth field goal of the 2018 season on his 15th attempt. Granted, one of those was blocked, but making just 10 of 14 unblocked field goals is also quite bad. And adding in another five misses on extra point attempts is just abysmal. And then he missed his 16th attempt, which would have sent the game into overtime, slipping on the attempt and hitting it low to be blocked.
One wonders how much longer the Pittsburgh Steelers can tolerate this level of play during the 2018 season, a year in which they have Super Bowl aspirations, even if recent struggles have dampened their hopes significantly.
Boswell was the most reliable and clutch kicker in the NFL last season, but he has been anything but this year. Entering today’s game, he had only connected on 36 of his first 41 extra point attempts for an accuracy rate of 87.8 percent. Anything below 92 percent is absurdly low.
Including the blocked field goals, he is making worse than two out of every three field goals, just 62.5 percent. You can’t be a Super Bowl team and have a kicker who you only have less than two-thirds confidence in your kicker.
One issue is admittedly the fact that the Steelers have not given Boswell many opportunities to redeem himself, let alone to find a rhythm. That is because their red zone offense has been too good, entering this game converting for a touchdown on over 77 percent of their red zone possessions. And remember, four of their failures inside that range were due to interceptions. They had three other fumbles inside the 25-yard line that took away possible field goal attempts.
Compare that to last season, during which Boswell attempted 39 field goals over the course of the season. He attempted at least two field goals in all but two games, and had four attempts in three different games.
As a kicker, especially one who is struggling, it’s hard to get out of a funk when you get so few opportunities to get out on the field. This season, through the first 12 games, he only had multiple field goal attempts four times, and did not even attempt one in two games.
Boswell even ended the first half bouncing an extra point attempt off the upright, though he was fortunate enough to see it go in. It’s rare to see any player go from being a legitimate Pro Bowler in one season to a liability like this in the next.
Still, it’s not as though there is much available on the kicking market right now, and the Steelers are not a team that quickly cuts the cord on their homegrown players. They may bring in competition for him next season, but it’s hard to imagine them making a move unless it continues to get worse.