Say what you will about Todd Haley's questionable play calling, the struggles of backup quarterback Michael Vick, and the porous run defense; if Josh Scobee makes either one his kicks against the Baltimore Ravens last week, we're talking about a Pittsbugh Steelers team that's 4-1 on the season, and 2-0 without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
The Steelers finally parted ways with Scobee following a gut-wrenching loss to the Ravens in Week 4. The veteran kicker, who was brought in after injuries to Shaun Suisham and Garrett Hartley, missed two field goals in the 28-21 loss the New England Patriots in Week 1, an extra point against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2, and two more field goals in the loss to Baltimore.
Left searching for answers, General Manager Kevin Colbert and Head Coach Mike Tomlin signed free agent Chris Boswell on Saturday Oct. 3, following a tryout in wet and blustery conditions at Heinz Field.
Boswell spent the 2015 offseason and training camp with the New York Giants, and was with the practice squad of the Houston Texans for one week during the 2014 season. He attended Rice University and signed with the Texans as an undrafted rookie free agent on May 16, 2014.
I'm knocking on wood as a write this, but it appears the Steelers have finally found a viable replacement for Suisham for the remainder of the 2015 season. Boswell came up huge last night, crushing a 47-yard field goal through the uprights late in the second quarter, and converted on all three of his extra point attempts in the second half.
For a while, last night's game had an eerily similar feel to the Thursday night loss to the Ravens. The Steelers defense was getting after the quarterback and creating turnovers, but the offense was struggling to move the ball and wasting opportunities. Without Roethlisberger, the Steelers once again leaned heavily on All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell and an aggressive defense to keep them in the game.
This time, however, with points at a premium, Pittsburgh's kicker came through when they needed him to, and ultimately helped ensure a much-needed victory.
We'll learn a lot more about Boswell next week, when he'll be forced to deal with the unforgiving conditions at Heinz Field in another big game. But for now, Steeler Nation can sit back and enjoy last night's improbable win, knowing the kicker was able to do his job when the team needed him the most.