Now that the 2021 season is over, bringing yet another year of disappointment, a fifth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically, where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the season and into the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: K Chris Boswell
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: While the 2021 season was not the most accurate in Chris Boswell’s career, he not only maintained a high standard in that regard but also continued to transform the offense’s strategy by solidifying his reputation as a range kicker.
I debated back and forth a bit over whether or not Chris Boswell’s stock should be up or even, given a player with such high standards. After all, Boswell is coming off the two most accurate seasons of his career in 2019 and 2020, and his mark of 90 percent is actually a regression.
But one stat swayed me to go with ‘up, and that would be 8-for-9. That is his numbers from field goal attempts of 50 or more yards during the 2021 season. Attempted nine, connected on eight. He has made 17 (out of 21) field goals in his career from 50-plus yards, so that means nearly have of his total makes came in 2021.
His previous single-season high, and the only other year in which he had more than two in a single season, was when he hit four in 2017, the year he was named to the Pro Bowl over the Baltimore Ravens’ Justin Tucker. And he also hit one from 56 yards, inside of Heinz Field, which is the longest kick ever made in a regulation game, college or pros, in the history of the stadium.
It also doesn’t hurt that he kicked three game-winning field goals during the 2021 season, including two in overtime. He also kicked a field goal to send the game into overtime in Detroit, and a go-ahead field goal with three minutes left against the Chargers in a game they ended up losing.
Oh, and did I mention that he made 36 field goals on the season, breaking his own team record for the most field goals made in a single season in franchise history? He did not break his record for points, however, as he had several fewer extra points in 2021 than he did in 2017.