CLEVELAND — The Pittsburgh Steelers were down a kicker on Sunday, when Chris Boswell was injured in the first half against the Cleveland Browns and didn’t return.
Without Boswell, rookie punter Pressley Harvin III was pressed into duty on kickoffs, sending one out of bounds before a solid second kick.
But as far as field goals or extra points, it just wasn’t something the Steelers were willing to risk. The team did not attempt a kick with Harvin, going for every fourth down and for two-point conversions after touchdown.
Part of the problem is that Harvin is the team’s holder and the emergency holder is starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. So it would have been an inexperienced Harvin kicking at the hand of the team’s starting quarterback. Not ideal.
“We found out that Pressley doesn’t kick,” Roethlisberger said. “Then it was ‘Let’s let him try,’ but I hold with my right hand, so that probably wouldn’t be good if he was hitting my hand. There was a lot of discussion at halftime. Mike [Tomlin] kind of said, ‘Listen, he’s not kicking, so let’s just get ready to go.’”
The Steelers did just that, using three of what Tomlin explained as about nine viable two-point plays down the stretch. Tomlin said he didn’t think playing without a kicker impacted the mentality of his offense overall.
“Any of you guys that know Ben, that doesn’t change his mentality,” Tomlin said. “He plays like we don’t have a kicker anyway.”
Tomlin said the world will never know what Harvin’s kicking abilities might look like if pressed into duty.
“I was aware of it,” he said. “I hoped that I’d never have to use it.”
Tomlin took the blame for putting the team in the position in the first place, saying the execution wasn’t good enough for him to be able justify calling for the fake field goal that got Boswell hurt.