Pittsburgh Steelers: First Quarter Report


The Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football League has completed the first quarter of the 2015 NFL season and there have been surprise teams, several controversies, plenty of upsets, lots of missed extra points, a ton of penalties, and way too many injuries.

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For the Steelers, they could be heading into next Monday night’s matchup with the San Diego Chargers sporting a 3-1 record, but a very disappointing loss to the Baltimore Ravens has them settling with an even record at two wins and two losses. The irony of that Baltimore game played last Thursday night is that the performance of kicker Josh Scobee and his two missed field goals that put him on the unemployment line.

Meanwhile in Indianapolis, Scobee’s replacement in Jacksonville Jason Meyers, also missed several field goals that like the Pittsburgh game, would have won the battle with the Colts had he made them. Meyers’ efforts were probably more embarrassing. Having missed a 53-yarder with just six seconds to go in the game, Indianapolis had called for a timeout just before the snap. Getting a second shot, the Jags kicker missed it again. As the game went into overtime, the call went to Meyers again to win it for Jacksonville but again he missed. You have to wonder if Jacksonville will now call back Scobee.

For the Steelers, it’s no more Scobee and hello Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh’s third replacement kicker following the injury to Shaun Suisham.

From Suisham to Garrett Hartley to Josh Scobee, those three all have extensive experience kicking in the NFL. Not so for Boswell.

An undrafted rookie in 2013, Boswell could not win a job in Houston or with the New York Giants and has yet to make a field goal or extra point attempt in the NFL. Does that bode well for the Steelers? Obviously, Boswell showed Mike Tomlin something in his tryout and the world will know all about the leg of the newest kicker come Monday night.

This we know about Chris Boswell…he stands about six feet in height and weighs around 200. That’s big for a kicker. He grew up in Keller, Texas, and graduated from Fossil Ridge High. From there he attended Rice University. He excelled as a kicker there nearly breaking Rice’s all-time record for points, falling just one point short at 359. Boswell did however, set the school record for field goals with 65 that is also third-best in the history of Conference USA. A playing participant in the 2014 Senior Bowl, Boswell does have leg power. At Rice, he nailed a 56-yard shot to in a game against the University of Kansas. That successful kick was Boswell’s third from 55 yards or longer.

During his career there, he hit at least one 50-yard field goal in each of the seasons he played. Can Chris Boswell do well as a kickoff specialist? On 70 kickoffs at Rice, 54 went for touchback. Another held opponents inside the 24-yard line. So the credentials are good on the collegiate level, but he will have to prove it with the big boys.

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Buccaneers vs. Packers prediction, odds, spread, injuries, trends for NFL Week 15
Buccaneers vs. Packers prediction, odds, spread, injuries, trends for NFL Week 15 /

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  • As the second quarter of the season begins for the Pittsburgh Steelers, so does the career of Chris Boswell. Pittsburgh happily welcomes back Martavis Bryant this week as he ends his four game suspension and aside from Ben Roethlisberger, and the possibility that Ryan Shazier may just miss his third straight game, the Steelers are relatively healthy.

    Shazier did practice this week so his return would be a major boost given how well he was playing up until he injured a shoulder in the San Francisco game. Looking back at the first four games, a review of the first quarter follows.

    The opening night loss to New England stung for sure, but the Steelers bounced back with an impressive wipeout the second week of the 49ers followed by a much closer and costlier victory over St. Louis. The loss to Baltimore at home could have been avoided but Mike Tomlin can certainly work from a 2-2 record moving forward.

    The question is how well can and Todd Haley get Michael Vick to play until Big Ben can return? If Vick’s performance against Baltimore is any indication, the road ahead could a tough one to hoe. It would seem simple for any talented quarterback to have success given the weapons the Steelers offense possesses, and perhaps with the return of Martavis Bryant that will provide Vick with some more confidence.

    There is no questioning the athleticism of Vick, but he certainly has to sharpen his game. As indicated before, the loss to the Ravens can not be entirely pinned on Michael Vick, he certainly did not lose the game for Pittsburgh. The Steelers’ offense is one of if not the best in the NFL but it takes a solid engineer to get it revved up and going at full speed. Roethlisberger does that and thus far Vick has not.

    No matter who the Steelers are playing, the offense with or without Big Ben will do damage. There are simply too many weapons for it not to. What we saw in the Niners game is what the offense is capable of.


    The Steelers defense has been suspect for the last several seasons but Keith Butler and Dick LeBeau before him have been working to build a speedier, quicker offense as opposed to an aggressive hard-hitting one that has become the norm for a Pittsburgh ‘D. Don’t get it wrong, there are still some solid hitters out there like Mike Mitchell and Antwon Blake.

    But there are also men like Ryan Shazier, Sean Spence, and Bud Dupree who can cover the field sideline-to-sideline. The defense didn’t have an answer for Tom Brady and his offense in game one but smothered San Francisco in game two.

    It can certainly be said that after the San Francisco game the defense seemed to be improving. Against the Rams, the defense was solid, but signs in St. Louis were more apparent at home against Baltimore as the defense took a step backwards when they had major problems stopping the Ravens’ running game. Once Shazier is back on the field, that will be a plus. The rush defense absolutely has to improve.

    The pass defense and quarterback pressure has been excellent. Lawrence Timmons appears to be finding his groove and James Harrison is starting to make big plays again. There are difficult games ahead and this Steelers defense has to do its part to keep the offense from getting involved in shootouts and playing from behind.

    As we look ahead to the second quarter of the season, the next four games are the road game on Monday Night Football in San Diego; a home game facing the Cardinals; back to the road that leads to a matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs; and the first half of the season concludes with a huge game at home against division leading Cincinnati.

    If Ben Roethlisberger is really out the predicted 4-6 weeks, that would mean he would not return until after the eighth game of the season. If that is in fact true, then the Steelers will have to try to win as many of the second quarter of the season’s four games that will be played without their star QB.

    It’s conceivable that of those next four games played, Pittsburgh stands a chance to lose all four given the quality of the opposition. These next four foes currently have a combined record of 10-6 and four of those wins belong to the Bengals who have a yet to lose, while the Cardinals have a 3-1 record.

    It’s a tough road ahead but if Michael Vick can provide some vintage Michael Vick, Pittsburgh could then come up with a victory on the road next Monday night, take the Cardinals at home, and perhaps loses in Kansas City but come up big at home in the game versus Cincinnati. That would put the Steelers at 5-3 at the halfway point.

    Next: NFL: Short Takes From Week Four NFL Action

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