The NFL's decision to move the extra-point line back this season wound up having a massive impact on the AFC Championship. And it left one of the league's best kickers wondering "What if?"
"I feel like I lost the game for the team," Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski said after New England's 20-18 loss in Denver. "I should have been out there kicking that tying extra point and helping us going into overtime. It's a sickening feeling (that) I can't put into words. There's nothing I can do about it now."
Gostkowski missed an extra point after New England's first-quarter touchdown, which was his first extra point missed in nearly a decade, when he had an extra point blocked as a rookie in 2006. This season, the Patriots were one of only five teams that didn't miss a single extra point after it was moved to a 33-yard distance in the offseason. Gostkowski hit all 55 attempts he tried this year, including three in the playoffs last week.
Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady went out of their way to say Gostkowski wasn't to blame for the loss, which seems obvious. Denver's defense dominated all day. Even if the Patriots had converted the two-point conversion to end regulation, there was still overtime to come.
"It's a nightmare scenario," Gostkowski said. "I can't really explain how I feel right now. ... I feel like I let a lot of people down."