The Pittsburgh Steelers have played in six postseason games since they first brought in Chris Boswell in 2015. They have asked him to attempt 15 field goals in that time, and he has made all 15 of them, including a memorable six-for-six day in a win over the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016.
Boswell has also missed the past two games and three of the past five due to a groin injury this season, just as the Steelers are about to embark on their first postseason expedition since 2017. Needless to say, it would be a loss if they don’t have their reliable kicker out there with them, who went 19-for-20 on field goals this year, posting his highest average of his career at 95 percent (he did miss four extra points, however).
Should the team find him unavailable, though, they might have the right man for the job. He certainly has the name in first-year kicker Matthew Wright, a 2019 college free agent out of UCF who was also with the team in training camp in 2019.
The Steelers only signed Wright to their practice squad at the end of November, and he would be kicking a week later, connecting on his only field goal attempt and going two-for-two on extra points. Over the final two games of the season, he would attempt three field goals in the finale, making all three, including a pair of 46-yarders. He would go five-for-five in those two games on extra points as well.
“I’m comfortable with Wright”, head coach Mike Tomlin said yesterday during his pre-game press conference regarding he possibility of Boswell not being available. “He is putting the ball through the uprights and that’s job one. We’ll support him in the kickoff coverage area with quality coverage if need be. Boz’s participation and the quality of it throughout the week will determine if he is in uniform on Sunday”.
Wright does not have an overly strong leg, which shows up both in their kickoffs and in the range with which Tomlin is willing to trust the young kicker, but that has to be expected when you are bringing somebody up off the street.
The first-year kicker was activated for the first two games as a standard elevation from the practice squad, using up his two elevations for which he was eligible this season. In the finale, he was elevated as a Covid-19 replacement, as the team had three players miss the game on the Reserve/Covid-19 List.
Cornerback Joe Haden will still be on the list on Sunday when the Steelers face the Cleveland Browns, so should Boswell be unavailable, they would be able to elevate him in that fashion.
Late in the regular season, however, the league also lifted restrictions on the number of times a player can be elevated on a temporary basis for the 2020 postseason, so even if Boswell doesn’t play another game yet remains on the 53-man roster, theoretically, they could continue to simply elevate Wright on through the Super Bowl—provided that no team poaches him prior to their ability to protect him.