BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots lost veteran kicker Stephen Gostkowski to a season-ending injury this week, leading to some nerves from Patriots fans with regard to the reliability of Mike Nugent, a free agent who was brought in to replace Gostkowski.
It took until Nugent’s first moment on the field for that unease to grow.
Following the Patriots’ first touchdown against the Redskins, scored midway through the first quarter, Nugent took the field for the PAT. With the ball placed in the middle of the hashes, Nugent lined up the standard 33-yard PAT and pushed it right.
The kick was no good, leaving the Patriots trailing 7-6.
Nugent went 4-for-5 on PATs last year, and he was 15-for-17 in 2017. In 2015, the first year that PATs moved back to the 15-yard line, Nugent went 48-for-49. But in 2016, Nugent had some issues, going 23-for-29 on PATs.
The Patriots signed Nugent this week but also signed kicker Younghoe Koo to the practice squad, seemingly a bit of insurance in case Nugent struggles.
Later in the first quarter, the Patriots faced a fourth-and-1 from the Redskins’ 22-yard line. Instead of attempting the 39-yard field goal, the Patriots ran an offensive play. The direct snap to running back James White didn’t work, and the Patriots turned it over on downs.
Nugent did capitalize on his first field goal attempt later in the first half, when he successfully kicked a 37-yard field goal early in the second quarter to give New England a 9-7 lead. He connected on his second field goal, too, a 23-yard chip shot before halftime.
Nugent successfully kicked his next two PATs, though his PAT early in the fourth quarter deflected off the upright before passing through the goalposts.