There is perhaps nobody in the city more embattled right now than Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Chris Boswell, who missed two critical field goals during Sunday’s three-point loss to the lowly Oakland Raiders, including a potential game-tying field goal as time expired on which he slipped and sent the ball into the back of Ramon Foster.
Even Head Coach Mike Tomlin since the game has shied away from giving him his support, saying on Sunday following the loss when asked if they would look at new kickers only that he was disappointed. He confirmed yesterday that they would indeed explore their options at the position.
But his teammates in the locker room still have his back, and that includes quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who approached the topic yesterday during his weekly appearance on his radio show on 93.7 The Fan.
Talking about the situation at the end of the game that saw Boswell slip on the awful Oakland playing surface and squander a great hook and ladder play to set up the potential comeback drive at the last season, Roethlisberger explained how he approached his kicker after that all unfolded.
“I just kind of put my hand on his back on his back and said ‘hey keep your head up, we’re going to need you at some point’ and hopefully he heard the words”, he told his hosts. “I haven’t lost confidence in him. I still think every time he lines up it’s going to go in. He needs to have that same confidence and I hope he does”.
Whether or not he actually gets the opportunity to make amends remains to be seen, because as Tomlin said, the Steelers are going to be taking a look at their alternatives this week—presumably today. While he stressed that Boswell would be considered as much as anyone in the discussion going forward, it’s clear now that his job is in jeopardy.
It’s interesting to note that the Steelers have the second-fewest field goals in the NFL this year, and for very different reasons than the team with the fewest. The Arizona Cardinals have only attempted 12 field goals this season simply because they have a bad offense.
Pittsburgh has one of the top offenses in the league, including the highest-performing red zone unit. And four of their red-zone failures—plus two others inside the 25—have resulted in turnovers, so that has robbed Boswell of opportunities to redeem himself.
After attempting 38 field goals in 2017, making 35 of them, Boswell has only gotten 16 attempts so far in 13 games. Of course, he’s also missed five extra points, which doesn’t help his case. But is he really incapable of performing anymore? He may not get the chance to provide an answer to that question.