Third-year Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Chris Boswell is beginning to make it difficult to keep his last name out of the list of the team’s “Killer Bs”, which include quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell, and wide receiver Antonio Brown.
While the Steelers have won their past seven games in a row, three of their past four wins have come directly off the foot of Boswell, literally as time expired. His three game-winning kicks with no time remaining, I believe I read somewhere, tied the most in a single season in NFL history, and he did it in a span of just four games.
One of the reasons, head coach Mike Tomlin said soon after they signed him, that the coaching staff was drawn to him was because of the poise and calmness that he showed during his tryout. While most of the kickers that they brought in performed similarly well after they released Josh Scobee, it was Boswell’s demeanor that stood out to them.
And he has proven to be consistent on that end. I cannot ever recall a moment in which I have seen him flustered, and I’m not sure if he’s ever missed a clutch with a game on the line, or nearly on the line. Of course, he has missed some significant kicks here and there, but nobody’s perfect.
So how does he keep his composure when the game is on the line and the difference between a win and a loss is entirely within his hands—or feet, rather? He simply approaches a clutch kick as any other kick that he has to make. The only thing that is different about it, after all, is the circumstance. It is ultimately the same routine you always execute, and have executed for years upon years.
“A kick is a kick”, he told Aditi Kinkhabwala. “It doesn’t matter when it is. I’m supposed to make it”. He also noted that nobody is washing his car, nor bringing him lunch, and that life has gone on much as it always had before, even with three wins under his belt in the past month.
A kick is a kick, of course, except when it isn’t, or when it’s met by another, and Boswell was none too happy about what took place just before his game-winner went through the Cincinnati uprights.
Bengals defensive back Josh Shaw jumped offside, and in spite of a whistle blowing the play dead, he continued to pursue the ball, ultimately kicking his foot into Boswell’s as he was connecting with the ball. Holder Jordan Berry was also lucky to avoid injury.
He told Kinkhabwala that he believes such an incident, after a whistle had already been blown, should merit more than just the five-yard offside penalty. “We’re completely defenseless”, he said. He believes that it should merit a roughness call, and honestly I find it hard to blame him, or to justify not giving kickers such protection.