Chris Boswell was a Pro Bowler in 2017. He positively contributed directly to a number of wins for the Pittsburgh Steelers that season, which included four games in which he hit the game-winner as time expired or with less than a minute to play. For whatever reason, last season was quite the opposite, but he is back to being a positive contributor this year.
And without his four field goals and his extra points to boot, it’s fair to say the Steelers would not have secured their first victory of 2019 against a decent opponent. While the majority of his kicks were not overly strenuous, he did have one make from 51 yards, coming at the end of the first half with the team trailing. He also ended up with the game-winner, the final points in a 26-24 game, though that came in the middle of the fourth quarter.
Boswell has now been nearly perfect on the season, currently having made 17 of 18 field goal attempts through the first half of the season. His only miss came last week against the Miami Dolphins when the team challenged him with a 54-yard field goal, which is a yard longer than his career-long. After missing five extra points on 48 attempts last year, he is also a perfect 17 for 17 in that category this year. His 94.4 percent field goal accuracy so far this year is tracking to be the best of his career.
“That’s Good Boz” head coach Mike Tomlin said of his performance on the season to date when asked about his kicker after the game. “That’s what we’re used to, that’s what he’s used to. I think the better question is, ‘what happened last year?’ But we don’t have to ponder that. We’re in the present”.
Boswell only had 20 field goal attempts last season, but he missed seven of them, going 13 of 20 for a success rate of just 65 percent. That’s not even good for the 70s. His 12 total misses between field goals and extra points was about as bad as it got around the league—partially because by the time a kicker is approaching that sort of performance, he has already been released.
But the Steelers chose to stick with Boswell—even though they challenged him for his job even during the 2018 season, late in the year, making him win it all over again—and it is so far paying out. As Tomlin said, last year’s struggles are last year’s problem. But we can only hope that it remains that way.