OAKLAND, Calif. — Chris Boswell had a chance to kick the tying field goal in the final seconds, one that would have redeemed an earlier miss for the Pittsburgh Steelers placekicker.
Boswell slipped and, metaphorically, fell flat on his face.
So did the Steelers in a 24-21 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the worst loss of the season for a team that holds a half-game lead in the AFC North.
“What happened was the ball didn’t go through,” Boswell said, “and we lost the game.”
Boswell’s 40-yard attempt with five seconds left was his sixth missed field goal this season. He also had a 39-yarder that could have tied the score 10-10 in the second quarter sail wide right. Boswell hasn’t been much better on extra points, missing five and having one bounce off the right upright but through the goalposts against the Raiders.
Neither Boswell nor Steelers coach Mike Tomlin would blame the slick field conditions for losing his footing.
“If it was slippery for us, it was slippery for them, also,” Tomlin said. “I’m not going to make field conditions an excuse. It was slippery for everyone.”
Boswell echoed Tomlin’s take: “The field’s the field. You can’t complain about it. You can’t blame it. It was as bad as it is for me as anybody else. You’ve just got to find a way to put it through.”
Boswell kicked four winning field goals last season, including three as time expired. But his missed kicks have proven costly for the Steelers this season. Boswell missed a potential winning field goal in overtime at Cleveland in the opener, which ended in a tie, and an extra point that could have given the Steelers a 17-point lead against the Chargers last week, which ended in a loss.
So much for Boswell having a strong follow-up to a Pro Bowl season in 2017 that was rewarded with a five-year, $20-million contract.
“It’s terrible,” Boswell said of his performance this season. “What else do you want me to say?”
Where Tomlin wouldn’t say anything about Boswell’s future with the Steelers, Boswell couldn’t do anything but absorb the blame for another missed kick that played a pivotal role in another close loss.
“It’s definitely a lot of heat on you, but this is not the first time in my life this has happened. I’ve got to find a way through,” Boswell said. “You’ve got to keep going. Every kicker, every player, every position goes through a downfall. You’ve just got to find your footing and get back up. Just like any other slump in the world, you’ve just got to keep shooting, keep kicking, keep doing what you’re doing. You got here for a reason.”
Tomlin called the missed field goals “disappointing” but refused to elaborate on Boswell’s status with the Steelers.
“He’s not the only one that’s disappointed,” Boswell said. “This is a business. You’re valued or looked at on results, and I’m not getting it done right now. Whatever happens from here happens.”
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin at [email protected] or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.