The sight of Pittsburgh Steelers’ kicker Chris Boswell laying on the ground after taking a hellacious shot to the head from Cleveland Browns’ defensive tackle Malik McDowell on the Steelers’ fake field goal attempt late in the first half was concerning for all Steelers fans, and even teammates and coaches.
Not only were they worried about the health of one of the best kickers in the game, they were also worried about how they’d progress through the rest of the game without a kicker as Boswell missed the entire second half and will need to clear concussion protocol prior the the Week 9 Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears.
Without a kicker to put points on the board in the second half when in field goal range, it changed things for the Steelers’ offense when it came to decision-making drive to drive.
It didn’t change a whole lot for Steelers’ rookie running back Najee Harris, who said the Steelers’ offense simply focused on winning each play, keeping the Steelers’ offense ahead of the sticks and finishing the football game.
“Well, I mean, we were just really thinking it was just converting on third downs and just keep playing our ball,” Harris said to reporters following the game, according to the Steelers’ YouTube page. “Um, you know, making sure we have a short third down, short second down, so we don’t got to be behind the sticks and have them play a different coverage. So, I mean, you know, obviously losing Boz is bad, but we were just worried about just finishing out the game….I know there’s a rivalry there, but I mean, I’m just focused on winning the game and I really don’t care about the rivalry. I’m just trying to win, you know, that’s what I’m here for is to help win games, win games. So, you know, we won the game. That’s all that matters.”
It certainly helped that the Steelers were able to have some balance offensively, which Harris touched on in the post-game press conference. Along with Harris and the Steelers rushing for 115 yards as a team, Pittsburgh was able to throw the football and keep the Browns honest, which let to the offense’s success in the win.
“Um, yeah, you can say that,” Harris said to reporters when asked about offensive balance. “Um, we’re just trying to keep stacking bricks though. You know, obviously we’re gonna keep trying to be more, you know, run the ball and obviously doing the passes and RPOs that we’re doing. We’re just trying to find our data and we’re finding our identity and what we do and you know, we’re going to keep pushing forward stacking bricks.”