Flip the field, win the game. That’s been the Pittsburgh Steelers’ mantra the last two weeks. It’s how they beat the Cleveland Browns in Week Two and how they beat the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday night. Thank punter Pressley Harvin III for that, coming off two of the best games of his career. He’s showing what’s always been missing: consistency, and it’s playing a role in why the Steelers now sit atop the AFC North.
The man who snaps him those booming punts is LS Christian Kuntz. He served as a guest on Cam Heyward’s Not Just Football podcast and praised Harvin for his excellent performance.
“He played his ass off,” Kuntz told the show. “He punted like we all see him punt in practice. We needed that. That was huge. Hopefully, we can build on that going forward.”
Heyward agreed, praising Harvin for the great outing.
Against the Raiders, Harvin punted six times, averaging 53.8 yards per punt with a long of 63. In Steelers’ history, it’s the second-best average of a Steelers punter with at least six boots in a game, only trailing Bobby Walden’s 54.0 in 1970. After a dud in the opener against San Francisco, where Mike Tomlin called him and the punting unit out, Harvin has bounced back in a big way. Versus the Browns, he averaged 45.7 yards per punt with great placement to pin the Browns deep and win the field position battle.
Though it’s only three weeks and winter will tamp down numbers, Harvin is obliterating his previous averages. As a rookie, he averaged 42.6 yards per punt. Last year, that number ticked up to 44.5. So far in 2023, he’s averaging 47.5 yards per try. But perhaps the most impressive figure is that 42.1 percent of his punts have landed inside the 20. Among qualifiers, that’s seventh in the NFL and far better than the numbers he posted his first two years: 35.7 percent as a rookie and 29 percent as a sophomore.
The only blemish to his great game was a hamstring injury he sustained late in the contest that appears to have limited him at the start of the week. Hopefully, it won’t be something that lingers or is impacted by spending eight hours on a plane. Right now, Harvin is in a groove and you don’t want anything to disrupt that.
In the interview, Kuntz deflected the credit for the punting success and put it on Harvin. Of course, Harvin determines the outcome more than anyone else but punting and kicking is an operation, not a solo endeavor. Kuntz has done a solid job as the snapper, making life easy on Harvin so he can focus on his technique and kicking the heck out of the ball.
Check out the entire episode, which also featured former RB Le’Veon Bell, below.