Looks like kicker No. 4 on horizon for Pittsburgh Steelers

By The Sports Xchange
Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Josh Scobee. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Josh Scobee. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers may be in the market for another kicker after Josh Scobee missed two fourth-quarter field goals in their 23-20 overtime loss to Baltimore at Heinz Field Thursday night.

"We have to turn the stones over," head coach Mike Tomlin said about the search for another kicker. "We have to find ways to win games. Obviously, that's an element of it. It was an element of the outcome tonight."


Scobee is the team's third kicker after veteran Shaun Suisham tore an ACL on his left knee in the first preseason game and replacement Garrett Hartley went on injured reserve with a hamstring injury in their next-to-last preseason game. Scobee missed two field goals in their 28-21 opening-night loss at New England and has also missed an extra point.


"It just wasn't my night," said Scobee, who may not have a chance for another in a Steelers uniform, although the Steelers are on the books for $2.5 million to him this season, even if he's cut.

In overtime, the Steelers drove to the Baltimore 33-yard line on their second possession, but Tomlin decided against trying a game-winning field-goal attempt by Scobee on fourth-and-1 with what would have been a 51-yard kick.

Quarterback Michael Vick threw incomplete on fourth down to give the ball back to the Ravens, who had erased a 13-point, second-half deficit.

Scobee said after the game that he would have welcomed the chance at redemption.

"Oh yeah, absolutely," Scobee said. "I wanted to redeem myself, but I didn't get it. I understand it. I just have to move on."

Two kickers the Steelers are reportedly considering are Kai Forbath, who was cut by the Redskins Sept. 14 because of issues on kickoffs, and Chris Boswell, who was with the New York Giants in training camp.

--There was little good news that came out of a game in which the Steelers should have won their third straight to go 3-1 and buried their hated rivals at 0-4. Instead, Pittsburgh could find itself two games behind unbeaten Cincinnati in the AFC North when the weekend's over.


However, their pass rush continued to improve with five sacks of Joe Flacco and Mike Vick played decently in place of injured Ben Roethlisberger in a short week of preparation.

"I thought there were some good things," Tomlin said of Vick's performance. "It needs to be a building block as we move forward."

--Wide receiver Martavis Bryant rejoined the team Friday after serving his four-game suspension for multiple positive marijuana tests. He spent some time with noted rehab specialist John Lucas in Houston. He declined to talk and a spokesman said he will be available to speak next week.

--Running back Le'Veon Bell became the first player to rush for at least 100 yards against the Ravens in 30 games but he did not see the ball in either short-yardage situation in overtime.

"It's not my call," said Bell. "If I get the call, then I run it. If we had converted, it would not be a problem. I'm not the play-caller, I'm just a player. I go out there and run plays."

--Baltimore's Steve Smith Sr. accused safety Mike Mitchell of spearing him during one tackle Thursday night, knocking him out of the game. Replays showed instead that it was linebacker Lawrence Timmons who hit Smith legally on the play in question.


"The best thing I can do without threatening him and saying that I will assault him when I see him is I will say I look forward to playing him again," Smith said. "He's on my lifetime hit list."

Responded Mitchell on Friday, "It's not even something I concern myself with."


--PASSING OFFENSE: C. Under the circumstances of having just two practices to get ready, Mike Vick did a decent job. He threw one touchdown and should have had another of 36 yards except that Antonio Brown could not hang onto the ball in the end zone. He was sacked four times, but had no interceptions and no fumbles. He completed 19 of 26 for 124 yards with a passer rating of 95.7. However, on fourth-and-1 at Baltimore's 33-yard line in overtime, he overthrew Antonio Brown on a short pass that would have moved the sticks and put them in position to win.

--RUSHING OFFENSE: A. Although stacked to stop the run, the Ravens could not stop Le'Veon Bell, who ran for 129 yards and one 11-yard touchdown on 22 carries. It's the first time the Ravens allowed a 100-yard rusher in 30 games. Vick also picked up 33 yards on nine runs as the Steelers piled up 167 on the ground and produced a 5.1-yard average.


--PASS DEFENSE: B-plus. The Steelers sacked Joe Flacco five times after he was sacked just twice through his first three games and defensive end Cam Heyward chopped the ball out of his hands for a lost fumble that set up a score. Cornerback Ross Cockrell had an intercepted. Flacco completed 20 of 33 for 189 yards and a 73.9 passer rating.

--RUN DEFENSE: D-minus. Justin Forsett rushed for 150 yards on 27 carries and the Ravens amassed 191 yards and a 4.9-yard average with one touchdown run. To top it off, the Ravens mounted their winning drive in overtime from their 33 and of their seven plays, they ran it six times to put them in position at the Steelers' 35 to kick the winning field goal.

--SPECIAL TEAMS: D. Josh Scobee missed two fourth-quarter field goals from 49 and 41 yards and those probably prompted head coach Mike Tomlin not to try another from 51 in overtime when the Steelers had fourth-and-1 at the Baltimore 33. They failed to get the first down and the Ravens began their winning drive. Scobee did kick two in the first half, from 45 and 36. Also, punter Jordan Berry came up short too often, averaging 39.8 gross and a 37.5 net on six boots. That compared to Sam Koch of the Ravens, who averaged 51.0 on four punts. Antonio Brown did return one punt for 29 yards in overtime to start a drive at the Steelers' 41 but that ill-fated series ended at the 33.


--COACHING: C. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley might have been a bit conservative with Mike Vick at the beginning of the game and then in overtime, but there was not much time to prepare the backup quarterback to start on a short week. They also did not sign Vick until Aug. 25. Tomlin will be criticized in some quarters for going for it twice on fourth down in overtime and failing at Baltimore's 39 and 33, but the only alternatives were to punt on the first and allow Josh Scobee to avoid missing a third straight field-goal try on the second.

Notes: Wide receiver Antonio Brown's NFL-record streak of catching five passes for at least 50 yards ended at 35 games. He caught five for 42 yards against the Ravens, dropping one in the end zone that would have been a 36-yard touchdown. ... Linebacker Ryan Shazier (shoulder), who missed the past two games, has his arm out of a sling and appears as though he is ready to return when the Steelers next play at San Diego Oct. 12. ... Cornerback Cortez Allen (knee) missed his third straight game after he was demoted from his starting job at the beginning of the season.


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