Steelers kicker Chris Boswell believes Bengals intended to injure him
To the list of everything else that went on during Monday night's game, add even more bad blood.
The Steelers' Chris Boswell believes the Cincinnati Bengals intentionally attempted to injure him just prior to him kicking the winning field goal.
"You're not jumping offsides that bad without trying to run into the kicker," Boswell said Wednesday morning in reference to Cincinnati's Josh Shaw running off the end well before the snap with 4 seconds to play in a tie game and the Steelers in position to attempt a winning 43-yard field goal.
The chaotic moments as Shaw ran unabated toward Boswell and holder Jordan Berry led to Boswell nearly injuring his kicking foot. Boswell swung trough on the try even with Shaw's foot at the ball at the time of the kick. Berry held onto the ball because he saw Shaw approaching, and Boswell said he was too focused on the kick to notice Shaw.
Replays appear to show Shaw using a kicking motion toward Boswell's foot.
Boswell said his foot "stung," but it didn't hurt enough for it to affect the true attempt, which came from 5 yards closer after the offside penalty was assessed.
But what if Boswell's had been injured enough — even momentarily — that he needed medical attention?
"We can't kick that field goal at the end," Boswell said, "and (the Bengals) got want they want."
Boswell and Shaw shared some words after the incident, but it was forgotten after Boswell booted a winning field goal for the third time in four weeks.
"It's not an accident at all," said Boswell, who was named the AFC's special teams player of the week. "If you look in the NFL for the last two years, multiple teams have done it just to try to… either if it's running into, blocking the kick, doing something. But Seattle did it last year against the Bills, Ravens did it against us last year — and now Cincinnati."
After Antonio Brown's go-ahead touchdown with 13 seconds left on Christmas Day last year, Baltimore's Tavon Young left early on Boswell's extra-point attempt and was able to dive into Boswell's leg as he kicked. Though Boswell was not injured enough that it inhibited him, he has remained irked by it.
"They're trying to scare (kickers)," said Jesse James, who's on the far end of the line blocking on placekick tries.
Monday night's game included nine personal foul penalties, yielded a one-game suspension for a player on each team, had two players carted off the field and featured at least five players leave the game because of injury and not return.
"Especially in a game like that," said Berry, "your (default guess) is, 'Maybe (Shaw) is trying to do something crazy.'
"He was moving before I even turned around early — so he was definitely trying to jump something. Whether or not he was trying to hit anyone…"
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.