BOSTON (CBS) – The usually reliable right foot of Stephen Gostkowski failed the Patriots on Sunday, but the kicker didn’t shy away from taking the blame.
In the locker room following their 24-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins, Gostkowski took all the responsibility for his fourth quarter kickoff that went out-of-bounds, giving the Dolphins the ball at their own 40-yard line.
The Patriots had just taken a 20-17 lead with 4:07 left in the game when Gostkowski’s kicked sailed out-of-bounds. A few plays later, the Dolphins faced a 4th-and-5 but went for it, something they may not have done had they gotten the ball at their own 20 instead of the 40-yard line.
“Just trying to kill the ball, I hit it too far,” Gostkowski said of the kickoff. “It’s tough to do when you’re not under control.”
The Patriots’ kicker has been stellar this season, but had a rough day on Sunday. While he hit field goals from 22-yards and 23-yards out, Gostkowski missed a 48-yarder on the Patriots’ first drive of the third quarter. That kick would have extended their lead to 13-7, and at the end of the game those three points would have meant the Pats only needed a field goal to win rather than a touchdown.
Gostkowski said he put a good kick on the ball, but it was just one of those frustrating days.
“I felt like I hit it pretty well. The wind was blowing left-to-right all day and I played it left-middle,” he explained. “I feel like I hit it right where I aimed it, it just kind of leaked left a little bit. It’s upsetting; there are very few times that I hit a good kick and miss.”
Missed field goals happen in football, and given Gostkowski’s success throughout the season (Sunday’s miss was just his third of 2013) it’s hard to fault him. But the errant kickoff is something that cannot happen late in a game, especially with playoff seeding on the line this late in the season.
“Today just wasn’t my day and it stinks to play terrible when your team loses,” Gostkowski said. “It’s like salt on the wound.”
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