Is a Down Year for Chris Boswell a Cause for Concern?
The 2022 season didn’t particularly go the way that Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Chris Boswell would have liked. Boswell sat out five games with a groin injury and had the second-lowest field goal percentage of his professional career.
During his press conference at the UPMC Rooney Complex on Monday afternoon, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin succinctly addressed the struggle that was Boswell’s eighth go-round in Pittsburgh, adding that the two haven’t had the chance to gauge what it means going forward.
“I haven’t begun to assess it in that way yet,” Tomlin said after being asked if this was a down year for Boswell. “I’m sure that I will, and he will. We acknowledge and I acknowledge that the ball didn’t go through the upright at times and largely as much as we would like it to.”
After signing an extension that briefly made him the highest-paid player at his position last off-season, Boswell went 20-for-28 (71.4%) on his field goal tries throughout this campaign, marking the most misses he’s ever had over the course of one schedule. If not for 2018, when he failed to hit on seven of his 20 attempts, it would have been his worst showing in Black and Gold. Some argued that his lack of consistency that year left a few wins on the table and was one of the reasons the Steelers missed out on the postseason.
After Boswell was hurt in the Week 7 game at Miami, the Steelers brought on former Wake Forest kicker Nick Sciba to fill in. Sciba, who made an NCAA-record 34 field goals in a row as a Demon Deacon, nailed both of his field goals in Pittsburgh’s blowout loss at Philadelphia. After the bye week, he was replaced by Matthew Wright, who was shaky his first time out against New Orleans, misfiring on two of his four field goal tries. Then, in the three clashes that ensued, he split the uprights on his next 10, including one from over 50 yards out.
Boswell is one of the longest-tenured kickers in the game, and he’s being compensated well for what he’s accomplished in the past. As Tomlin alluded to, this season was uncharacteristic of his usual steadiness. The Steelers will almost certainly give Boswell plenty of opportunities to turn things around, but we could be in store for another offseason like 2019, when the team went out of its way to push him over the offseason.