The Steelers and Browns met on Sunday in a rematch of last year’s Wild Card round game that saw a combined 85 points. This year’s first matchup between divisional rivals, however, featured far less offensive firepower, as both teams limped in with some injuries and, just generally, offensive woes.
It was clear by the end of the first half that points of any kind would be at a premium, so after driving down the field to get into the red zone, when Pittsburgh had a drive stall, it seemed as though they would simply kick a field goal to take a 6-3 lead to the locker room. However, Mike Tomlin decided to try and spring a fake on the Browns, who were more than ready for it in a field goal safe defense, and what resulted was disaster for the Steelers as they not only failed on the fake field goal pass, but saw their kicker Chris Boswell get absolutely smoked as he held the ball too long and got drilled right after he threw it.
Steelers with a fake FG … it doesn’t work and kicker Chris Boswell took a shot and stayed down after the play. pic.twitter.com/gRM7WKyJAo
— ✯✯✯✯✯ (@FTBVids_YT) October 31, 2021
There’s an argument to be made for trying to score the touchdown in this spot because a 7-point lead would feel almost insurmountable for a Browns offense that sputtered after a good opening drive. That said, sending your kicker out there and putting him in harms way in a game where you are likely going to need some field goals was quite the risk, and poor Boswell found himself in the crosshairs of a defensive lineman, which is never where a kicker wants to be.
K Chris Boswell is being evaluated for a concussion. His return is questionable.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 31, 2021
There was a legitimate question about whether that was late enough to be roughing, but the referees didn’t think so and the Steelers now enter the second half with very real kicking concerns.