87.9 career field goal accuracy… 173 out of 173 on PAT’s… a 93.8% field goal accuracy rate in 2013… those are just a handful of Shaun Suisham place kicking statistics and even if they are impressive, they don’t do him justice.
- Shaun Suisham’s clutch kicks defined his Steelers career.
Making the mundane kicks in automatic fashion doesn’t mean much if you miss the big one with the game on the line. Sound harsh? Gary Anderson offers the perfect example. Google “Gary Anderson Overtime field goal” and you’ll see that 6 of the first 10 results reference his last minute miss in the 1998 NFC Championship game.
When the Steelers cut Jeff Reed and signed Shaun Suisham in the a commenter on Behind the Steel Curtain cautioned that a Redskins fan warned him, “He’ll break your heart.” Yet, another Redskins fans reassured me, arguing that “…sometimes kickers bounce around a bit before settling down.”
Shaun Suisham settled down in Pittsburgh, and now that his Steelers career appears to be over, we remember Shaun Suisham’s clutch kicks.
2010 – Baptism by Fire in Buffalo
So it wasn’t Shaun Suisham’s first week on the job, but it was the first game Suisham was asked to kick a field goal in. The Steelers struggled in this game, despite some excellent power rushing by Rashard Mendenhall. But outside of an early Mendenhall touchdown, Shaun Suisham was the Steelers offense, kicking field goals of 45, 46 and 48 yards.
The game went into overtime, where the Bills came thissss close to winning it:
But Shaun Suisham made it from 41 yards way, giving him his first clutch kick for the Steelers as Pittsburgh defeated Buffalo.
2011 – The Escape from Indianapolis
Even at the time, before it was clear that the Colts would finish 2-14 to win the #SuckForLuck derby, this game felt more like an escape than a win. Even though Kerry Collins got knocked out of the game, even though Troy Polamalu fumble return for a touchdown with 5:13 remaining, Curtis Painter played lights out on the final drive tying it with 2:09 remaining.
Mewelde Moore an Ben Roethlisberger moved the ball to the Colt’s 18 yard line with 0:08 remaining and, despite taking a hit from Jacob Lacey, Suisham knocked it in from 38 yards away.
2012 – Out Foxing Philly
The Steelers held the lead until 6:33 in the 4th quarter, when Mike Vick led the Eagles on a 17 play, 8:18 drive, before Vick connected with Brent Celek to put Philly ahead with 6:38 left.
Ben Roethlisberger, Rashard Mendenhall, Antonio Brown, and Isacc Redman responded with a 14 play, 6:33 drive that took the Steelers to the Eagles 16 yard line, where, from 34 yards out Suisham knocked it through the uprights as time expired and Pittsburgh defeated Philadelphia.
2012 – Killing Off Kansas City’s Last Gasp
People forget that the 2012 Steelers actually looked strong at mid-season with three impressive victories over the Bengals, Redskins, and defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. Those laid the ground work for what looked to be a cake-walk like Monday Night Football matchup vs. the 1-7 Kansas City Chiefs….
…But things didn’t quite work out that way, as the Chiefs gave the Steelers a run for their money, keeping it a tied 10-10 game until Ben Roethlisberger got knocked out early in the third quarter. Byron Leftwich managed field goal in relief, but the Chiefs tied it as regulation ended.
- The Chiefs won the toss, but Lawrence Timmons intercepted Matt Cassel’s first pass in over time, returning it to Kansas City’s 5.
Timmons interception set up Shaun Suisham’s chip shot 23 yard field goal and the Steelers victory.
2012 – Allowing Charlie Batch to Take a Final Bow
By this point in the 2012 season the Steelers were down to Charlie Batch as their starter, and no one gave the Steelers a chance given Batch’s 3 interception performance the week before at Cleveland.
True to the script, the Ravens led through the entire first half. The Steelers tied it on a Jonathan Dwyer touchdown early in the 3rd quarter, but the Ravens bounced back to take the lead again as the third quarter ended. Charlie Batch connected with Heath Miller to tie the score at 20-20 with 7:24 remaining.
The Steelers defense forced a punt, and Charlie Batch, playing his last 15 plays of football he had left in him, led the Steelers down the field as precious seconds ticked off the clock, until finally reaching the Ravens 24 yard line with 0:03 seconds left to play.
From 42 yards out, Suisham split the uprights, given Charlie Batch a win for his final NFL start.
2013 – Beating Baltimore, Saving the Season
The Steelers led this one all the way until the two minute warning when Joe Flacco connected with Dallas Clark to tie it up. The Steelers responded with an Emmanuel Sanders kick return for a touchdown that was called back. Nonetheless, 44 yards of his return stood, and energized the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell worked to position the Steelers at the 24.
Once again, from 42 yards out, with the Steelers season hanging in the balance, Suisham made as the Steelers defeated the Ravens 16-13 to improve to 2-4.
2014 – Cutting Off Cleveland’s Comeback Cold
This was Chuck Noll Day and the Steelers came out gang busters jumping to a 27-3 first half lead….
- …Only to see Cleveland fight back in the second half, scoring 24 unanswered points, tying the game with 11:20 left to go.
The Browns got the ball back with just under 2 minutes remaining, but a Cameron Heyward sack and two stealer plays by William Gay forced a Cleveland punt. Ben Roethlisberger and Marcus Wheaton led the Steelers down the field reaching the Browns 24 yards line with 5 seconds left to play.
For the 7th, and apparently last time, Shaun Suisham made his last clutch kick for the Steelers, kicking a 41 yarder as time expired.
2010 – 2014 Shaun Suisham Clutch Kicker & Class Act
Shaun Suisham kicked for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2010 to 2014. During that time he made a bunch of clutch kicks. Whenever a game was on the line and the Steelers were inside of 45 yards, Mike Tomlin never hesitated to send out Suisham, whether on the road or at Heinz Field.
- That’s priceless peace of mind for a head coach
Through it all, Suisham remained humble, and Chris Boswell‘s farewell tweet punctuates that point:
Cant say enough about Suish and how he helped me and took me under his wing. I respect him as a player but even more as a person. Respect #6
— Chris Boswell (@WizardOfBoz09) June 24, 2016
Let that sink in. When the Steelers signed Chris Boswell, and Boswell began making clutch kicks of his own, Suisham continued to offer his support and mentorship to a player who had had to know could cost him his job, even if his recovery from the ACL injury hadn’t taken a “catastrophic” turn for the worst.
- That is truly the definition of class.
Steel Curtain Rising thanks Shuan Suisham for his clutch kicking and for being a class act. Steelers Nation wishes you well in whatever is next to come!