Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, one of the most automatic special teamers in the NFL, has moved on from the missed extra point against Denver in the AFC Championship game.
"I've always been hard on myself whenever I have a bad game, especially when we lose," Gostkowski told ESPN Boston. "But I've never once hung my head down. You have to have a short memory in this game, but I'm always hard on myself for a couple days, even when we win and I have a miskick. It's a perfectionist's job -- you strive for perfection. I expect to make every kick, and when I don't, it's very frustrating. I probably practice tens of thousands of kicks for every one I've tried in a game, and when it doesn't go your way, it can be hard to deal with. But I've always been good at getting over things and not sulking and letting it mount into one bad kick after the next. I came back and made my next two kicks in the game.
"I just think the way the game ended, at the end of the game, it kind of hit me, and you only have 10 minutes to think about what to say (to the media). I'm the kind of person that would rather take more accountability than none at all. That's just the way I was raised. When things don't go your way, you can either sulk, make excuses or take accountability, and that's how I feel I represent myself, my family and teammates in a positive way, even when things don't go my way. That's what I thought about in those 10 little minutes. It hurt because I care and I want to win. But I don't hold my head low. I work hard, I've done a good job, and things don't always go your way. I'm not going to make excuses. I just felt really bad that the season came to an end."
Chances are, Bill Belichick is not worried about his kicker. Gostkowski's field goal percentage only dipped to 91.7 percent this year despite the new extra point rules which, according to many kickers, ended up effecting their long-range accuracy. The previous two seasons, he logged a 92.7 percent and 94.6 percent accuracy rate on field goals.
It was enough to earn him a four-year deal worth $17.2 million last offseason, taking him through the 2018 season.
Gostkowski taking the blame at all probably endears him further to the Patriot Way. His missed extra point was in the first quarter, and while that eventually came back to bite the Patriots, there were plenty of opportunities to even out the mishap in between. Gostkowski knows this, but he also knows what is expected of him.