When Shaun Suisham steps onto the field with the game on the line, the Pittsburgh Steelers kicker doesn’t think about the packed stadium or the millions watching at home on TV. He doesn’t worry about the way the wind is blowing or if holder Drew Butler is going to get the laces right.
Instead, Suisham thinks about the sacrifices made by the other 44 players dressed in black-and-gold just so the affable 30-year-old Canadian could step in and be the hero.
“He knows how much work the other guys put into the game to that point and it’s great to be able to put a win on top of it for everybody,” long snapper Greg Warren said.
Something Suisham has gotten pretty good at this fall. He leads the NFL in field goal percentage, making 24 of 25 kicks, and has already drilled three game-winners, including a 42-yarder last Sunday at the gun to beat rival Baltimore on the road.
It’s rarified air for any kicker, though you wouldn’t know it by talking to Suisham. Asked what it means to be in the midst of a career year in a line of work where you’re only as good as your next kick, and all Suisham does is shrug his shoulders.
“It’s my job,” he said.
One that he’s gotten pretty good at. While Suisham doesn’t have the strongest leg in the league — his range is career-long is a relatively modest 52 yards — at the moment he’ll happily settle for the most accurate kicker in the game.
“He’s in a zone right now,” Warren said.
The Steelers (7-5) have needed him to be in a season where there has been little wiggle room. Only three of Pittsburgh’s dozen games have been decided by more than a touchdown, and Suisham’s right foot has provided the difference in victories over Philadelphia, Kansas City and the Ravens.
The kicks against the Eagles (34 yards) and Chiefs (23 yards) were relative gimmes. Baltimore, however, proved a little trickier. Yet his boot from the right hashmark was good all the way and for once the normally reserved Suisham decided to celebrate a little bit, giving a fist pump while getting mobbed by his teammates.
It was a rare show of emotion from a player who has learned to take emotion out of the equation.