Steelers notebook: Steady Suisham franchise's most accurate
Shaun Suisham is the most accurate kicker in Steelers history.
Since joining the team in 2010, Suisham is 75 of 87 (86.2 percent), well ahead of the 82.7 percent pace of Norm Johnson (105 of 127, 1995-98). Jeff Reed (81.9 percent) and Gary Anderson (78.2) are Nos. 3-4, reflecting how kickers are becoming more accurate not only with each generation but also with each season.
No phase of play has improved over the past 40-plus seasons more than kicking.
For example, Gene Mingo made only 38.6 percent of his Steelers attempts (17 of 44) in 1969 and 1970. Suisham is perfect on 10 kicks this season and is 38 of 41 (93 percent) over the past two seasons.
Bengals provide hope
If the Steelers (1-5) don't beat the Baltimore Ravens (3-3), history shows their season effectively will be over.
Only one team during the Super Bowl era, the 1970 Bengals, started 1-5 and recovered to make the playoffs. Those Bengals lost six of their first seven but recovered to win their final seven games and the AFC Central because no other division team had a winning record.
The Cleveland Browns went 7-7, the Steelers 5-9 during a season in which rookie quarterback Terry Bradshaw had six TDs and 24 INTs, and Houston Oilers were 3-10-1.
The Bengals' recovery was made possible partly because the Oilers and Steelers played 20 nonwinning games between them. There is more balance in the AFC North, which makes it unlikely a team can pull off a streak to match that of the 1970 Bengals.
“We've got to keep climbing and build off last week (a 19-6 win) and get another one,” defensive end Brett Keisel said.
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.
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