Steelers' Suisham gets his kicks with fast start
The Steelers' Shaun Suisham is one of 19 kickers who haven't missed on multiple attempts this season.
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Shaun Suisham is one of many kickers off to a good start in the NFL this season. And that will only feed his addiction.
He has converted all four of his field-goal attempts, has touchbacks on seven of 11 kickoffs and is seventh in the AFC in scoring (16 points).
"It's a great job when you make all your kicks," Suisham said. "There's certainly a certain level of exhilaration. It's pretty hard to duplicate that doing anything else. I found when I've been out of work, I've craved it."
Suisham was part of a prolific weekend in the NFL in Week 2.
He had two 45-yard field goals in the Steelers' 27-10 victory Sunday against the New York Jets -- the first time he has made two field goals from beyond 40 yards at Heinz Field since the Steelers signed him in November 2010.
Suisham's performance, though, merely was reflective of what happened around the rest of the league. Kickers converted 54 of 57 field-goal attempts last weekend -- the highest percentage (.947) since Week 5 in '11 when kickers made 42 of 44 attempts (.955).
And consider the three misses:
• A 62-yard attempt by Washington's Billy Cundiff in the closing minutes of a loss against the St. Louis Rams
• A 40-yarder by Detroit's Jason Hanson that hit the right upright in a loss against the San Francisco 49ers.
• A yanked 42-yarder by New England's Stephen Gostowski on the final play in a 20-18 loss against the Arizona Cardinals.
The miss by Gostowski, who already had kicked four field goals in the game, was surprising because he ranks eighth all time among the league's most accurate kickers (84.48 percent).
"A lot of times people make the assumption our jobs are easy," Suisham said. "I think people get confused sometimes because our skill is fairly simple, but it doesn't mean it's easy and it doesn't mean everyone can do it.
"Generally, at this level, everyone is very good at it, and they make it look easy. You combine that with a simple skill, and people expect perfection all the time, and it's not always the case. Not for a guy who does it for a living, especially not for someone who has to jump into an emergency situation."
So far, so good for Suisham, who converted only 6 of 11 attempts from beyond 40 yards last season.
He is one of 19 kickers who haven't missed on multiple attempts this season, and he will face another Sunday when the Steelers (1-1) play in Oakland against the Raiders (0-2).
Sebastian Janikowski made the Pro Bowl in '11 after converting 31 of 35 field-goal attempts, including a 63-yarder in Denver that tied the NFL record. He has kicked three field goals of 59 yards or longer in his 13-year career.
Janikowski is 4 for 4 this season, including a 51-yarder against San Diego, and responsible for nearly half the Raiders' 27 points.
"There's no middle ground," Suisham said. "You either make it or you don't. And I like that.
"I've learned one thing: It doesn't matter what it looks like-- if it goes through, it's a great kick. It can look like a great ball, but if it doesn't go through it's a terrible kick. But that happens. There isn't anyone out there who's perfect. Sometimes, they miss. We're human."
The Steelers already have said outside linebacker James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu will not play against the Raiders -- the second game in a row the defense will be without both All-Pro players.
Harrison (knee) and Polamalu (calf) have not practiced all week. It is the third game in a row Harrison will have missed. Polamalu said he injured his right calf the week leading up to the season opener in Denver. The injury was aggravated in the game.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall and linebacker Stevenson Sylvester also have been ruled out of the game. Tight end Heath Miller, who has two touchdowns among his seven catches, returned to practice for the first time this week and is expected to play against the Raiders. He is listed as probable.
Rookie offensive tackle Mike Adams (back) has not practiced all week and is listed as questionable.
Running back Jonathan Dwyer practiced each of the past two days and will play against the Raiders, even though he got what was termed a "turf toe" injury near the end of the victory against the Jets. Curiously, the "turf toe" injury occurred on the grass surface at Heinz Field.
"It's a toe jam is all it is," said Dwyer, listed as probable on the injury report. "I'm good. It wasn't as bad as other [turf toe] cases. It was minor and I'm getting through it. I'm OK."
First Published September 22, 2012 12:00 am