BOSTON (CBS) — Lost in the thrills of the Patriots’ 23-21 road win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday Night Football, Bill Belichick’s superlative coaching effort, and Jimmy Garoppolo’s impressive debut as a starter, is that the team’s ultra-reliable kicker delivered the game-winning points.
Stephen Gostkowski has been named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the fourth time in his career after a clutch performance Sunday night. He converted both Patriots extra points and all three field goal attempts, including the eventual game-winning 32-yard kick with under four minutes left in regulation and a 53-yard field goal earlier in the fourth quarter. His 78.3 percent (18-for-23) success rate on field goals of 50 or more yards is the highest percentage in league history with at least 15 attempts.
Gostkowski also played a major role in the field position battle against Arizona. On kickoffs, the Cardinals’ average starting field position was their own 18-yard-line, with only two touchbacks to start them at the 25-yard line, per new league rules. The Cardinals’ final drive in the fourth quarter, which ended with a missed field goal by Chandler Catanzaro, started on their own 8-yard line after committing a holding penalty on the return.
Sunday night marked a nice rebound to start the season for Gostkowski, who missed an extra point in the Patriots’ AFC Championship Game loss in Denver back in January.