Up 14-10 against the Patriots and facing a 4th-and-6 from the New England 30-yard line with 2:34 left in the game, Mike Tomlin had to make a decision.
Should he trot out Chris Boswell — who missed a 32-yard field goal attempt earlier in the game and has missed seven field goals this year — to kick a 48-yarder, or should he risk it and attempt to convert on fourth down?
If you followed the fans and media members tracking the game, the decision seemed easy: You go for it. Boswell could not be trusted.
But Tomlin disagreed.
“I made the decision when I walked in the stadium with (Boswell) that he was our kicker and I wasn’t going to play that second-guessing game,” Tomlin said. “We evaluated that process in a very thorough manner prior to going into the stadium.”
Boswell nailed the kick, giving the Steelers a 17-10 lead, a score which held up until the final whistle. Boswell entered the game just 10-for-16 on the year and 39-for-44 on extra points, prompting a competition at the Steelers facility leading into the showdown vs. the Patriots.
The Steelers flew in kickers Kai Forbath and Matt McCrane to challenge for Boswell’s position but ultimately stuck with their guy, a decision mirrored Sunday by Tomlin in that crucial moment.
“He’s our kicker from start to finish and, boy, I like the way he came back and banged that next opportunity, and that’s what this thing is about,” Tomlin said. “You are going to be tested, we are going to be tested. Sometimes, you are going to fail, but you had better pass enough of them.”
MATT SUNDAY GALLERY