Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
After an impressive finish to his 2010 season (14 for 15 field goals, 19 for 19 extra points), Shaun Suisham struggled mightily with consistency during the 2011 campaign.
Pittsburgh’s kicker only made 23 of his 31 field goals (74.2%), and had his fair share of issues putting the ball through the uprights from longer distances. Suisham was 6 for 11 on field goals between 40 and 49 yards, and his inconsistency inspired the Steelers’ front office to add some competition before the 2012 season began in the form of Danny Hrapmann.
Suisham responded to the challenge, beat out Hrapmann by the time the regular season started, made 90.3% of his field goals (28 for 31), and set a career-high for total points in a season with 118. Unlike 2011 however, the former Bowling Green Falcon does not appear to be headed for another “down year” after such an impressive one.
So far, Suisham has made all four of his field goal attempts, all four of his extra points, and has managed to be a model of consistency in spite of the minor hamstring injury he suffered before his team’s opening game. The Steelers will need their kicker to continue his strong start, especially since their offense has had issues with putting points on the board and extending drives as of late.
If red zone problems continue to plague the Steelers throughout this season, then Suisham will be counted on salvage points when potential scoring drives stall in enemy territory. Although the red zone issues and settling for “threes” instead of “sevens” worry me, I am at least happy that Pittsburgh can turn to their dependable kicker with some confidence if they need to call upon him.
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