After a disappointing performance against the Ravens, the Steelers have released kicker Josh Scobee. Scobee missed two crucial field goals in the closing moments of the Steelers 23-20 overtime loss to Baltimore. Free agent Chris Boswell has taken over the duties as kicker, according to Sports Illustrated.
The Steelers were in control of their game, against division rival Baltimore, on Thursday Night Football. The Ravens were making things a little tight and closed the gap to 20-17. Scobee was called on to kick a 49-yard field goal that would have put the Steelers up by six. The score would have forced the Ravens to go for a touchdown to win the hard-fought game.
Scobee looked to have the angles right for the kick. He made solid contact but sent the ball wide left of the goal posts. Without that score the Pittsburgh defense was called on to hold the fort until another chance. Defensive coordinator Keith Butler’s unit rose to the occasion. Scobee watched from the sidelines as the defense held Flacco and the Ravens at bay.
With a little over one minute to play, Scobee was called upon again to deliver a field goal. This time it was a try from 41 yards out. The ball was snapped, Scobee connected solidly again, but the ball veered left for a second time. Missing the second attempt was eventually the nail-in-the-coffin for Scobee and the Steelers.
Joe Flacco led the Ravens on a game-tying drive that tied the game and sent the AFC North prize fight into overtime.
The Steelers had their first attempt at winning the match, when Michael Vick got the team into scoring position. The ball was at the Raven 39. Because of Josh Scobee’s poor performance in the fourth quarter, Mike Tomlin decided to go for a fourth-and- two. The Ravens defense sniffed out the quarterback keeper and stuffed Vick behind the first down marker.
Called upon to be heroes again, the Steelers defense responded with another stellar performance. After getting the ball, the Steelers were again in prime territory to win the game. The ball was on the 34-yard line. Scobee was looking at a 51-yard field goal attempt.
Mike Tomlin and his staff chose to go for the first, on fourth and one
On a quick pass to Antonio Brown, the ball zoomed over his head. The Ravens took possession and marched 70 yards, scoring the game-winning field goal. Mike Tomlin’s decision was influenced by the subpar performance of Josh Scobee.
Scobee has made just 3 of 7 field goals from 40 yards or more this season. Boswell, 24, went undrafted out of Rice. He’s had a tryout with both the Houston Texans and New York Giants. Scobee also missed two kicks in the season opener, marking 10 misfires since 2014, highest in the league.
According to ESPN, Boswell had a tryout with the Steelers earlier. He was signed to a two-year deal. The Steelers traded a sixth-round pick to Jacksonville for the rights to Scobee, who carried a $2.5 million salary. The Steelers likely walked away from Scobee without much financial burden because Jacksonville paid $925,000 via a signing bonus to initiate the trade.
Scobee’s misses came in the open-air end of Heinz Field that is notorious for kickers. The wind gusts that force adjustments in aim, to account for the wind, are horrible. Scobee said both of his kicks “moved” after he kicked them down the middle.
Scobee said, per USA Today, he was remorseful.
“I feel like I let the team down. It’s a bad feeling. It was a hard fought game on both sides. I wish I had been able to come through, but it just wasn’t my night.”
The Steelers have given him more than a few nights to think about it.
[Photos by Justin K. Aller, Jared Wickerham / Getty Images]