Chris Boswell’s slip will likely prove to be the biggest gaffe from Sunday.
Rob Gronkowski got more attention for his infamous stumble while attempting to tackle Kenyan Drake during the final play, a 69-yard walk-off touchdown, during the Dolphins’ win over the Patriots in Week 14.
Gronk’s stardom and clumsiness dwarfed out Boswell’s. And yet the missed kick will likely prove more consequential than the missed tackle when the season ends. The Pittsburgh Steelers are now in serious danger of missing the playoffs.
Here’s what part of the playoff race looks like for Pittsburgh for the final three weeks.
- Pittsburgh (7-5-1): vs. Patriots, at Saints, vs. Bengals.
- Baltimore (7-6): vs. Buccaneers, at Chargers, vs. Browns.
- Indianapolis (7-6): vs. Cowboys, vs. Giants, at Titans.
- Tennessee (7-6): at Giants, vs. Redskins, vs. Colts.
The Steelers could easily lose to the Patriots next week — Tom Brady owns Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. The Patriots will be thoroughly embarrassed after giving up the last-second victory to the Dolphins, and will likely be out for blood. Neither James Conner nor Ben Roethlisberger are sure things to play.
The Steelers will then travel to New Orleans to face a Saints team which is still battling for the top NFC seed. The Saints will still be jockeying with the Rams. And New Orleans might just be the best team in football.
If the Steelers lose those two and beat the Bengals, they would finish 8-7-1. That means the Ravens need wins against the Bucs and Browns at home to get to 9-7, which would push them into the top seed in the AFC North.
That would put the Steelers into the wild card race against the Titans and Colts, either of which could easily finish the season with nine wins. The Colts will likely get a win over the Giants in Week 16. The Titans will likely get a win over the Redskins in Week 16. That would mean the winner of their Week 17 contest would put them in the playoffs, if the Steelers go 1-2 down the stretch and the Ravens go 2-1.
It’s a bit of a headache to think through the hypotheticals. At the same time, it’s probably the most likely outcome.
The Steelers are in serious danger of missing the playoffs after their loss to the Oakland Raiders. The Ravens, Titans and Colts could push the Steelers out of the playoff picture in the final week of the season.