Jeff Reed, who in the past has refused to publicly knock Heinz Field as a poor place to kick, ended his diplomacy after he missed a 26-yard field goal Sunday night, his seventh of the season, in a 39-26 Steelers loss to the New England Patriots.
And he tossed in a few critical remarks about Steelers fans as well.
"I'm not one to make excuses," Reed began. "I'll take the credit for the miss. It was a great snap, a great hold, great protection. It's kind of hard when you plant your foot and the hole -- a piece of ground moves where the ball's under the holder. I almost missed the ball completely.
"I'm not going to make excuses. If you've played any kind of sports in your life, you realize that what we play on is not very good turf. It happens."
It was the seventh missed field goal attempt this season for Reed, who missed just 10 total in the three previous seasons combined. He is 15 of 22, the most he's missed since he was 20 of 27 for the 2006 season. He only missed more in 2003, his second season with the Steelers when he was 23 of 32.
Reed said he's not in a slump.
"Not at all, man. Some big kicks, I've missed some important kicks. It's sports. It's not an excuse, but it's life. You can't sit here and say, man, you've been an 85 percent here and there and now you're whatever percentage. I've lost track. It hurts me that I don't help this team get points. But percentages are way overrated, and on a night like tonight when I felt great, kicked off well, did everything I was supposed to do and you miss a 20-something yard field goal, everyone wants to focus on that in a game like this.''
Reed's short miss came late in the third quarter with the Steelers behind 17-3. When he next kicked, an extra point following a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, fans in Heinz Field let out a loud, seemingly mock cheer.
Did he notice that reaction from the fans?
"I don't really know what you're talking about, but it doesn't surprise me. If you're not perfect in this city, man, then you're going to hear about it. It's been like that for nine years, and why would they stop now?
"Like I said there's 95 percent of those fans that got my back totally and then 5 percent you always hear. They're right by the kicking net, they were bashing me, but that's life, man, you got to move on. The worst thing for me to do would be to fight back at them.
"They started before the game even started. You know, like I said, they buy tickets just to bash me and Dan [Sepulveda] and Greg [Warren]. It's more me because points come off my foot."