Stephen Gostkowski's dreadful night ended with a bit of happiness, salvaging his debut with the Tennessee Titans.
Perhaps it saved his job. Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Tuesday he expects Gostkowski to be better than he was in Tennessee's 16-14 win, but the team still believes in the veteran.
"Well, I think for a guy that's a career 87 percent field-goal kicker, who's done it as long as he is, I think some of those corrections are gonna be on him," Vrabel said. "But it's also going to be about us and the operation and the ability for us to protect and the ability to make everything around him better and have a lot of faith and confidence in Stephen moving forward."
Gostkowski's danger zone began Monday night at the 30-yard line. The kicker missed an attempt in each of the first three quarters, each from 42 yards or more, before finally converting a chip shot 25-yarder to push the Titans past the Broncos.
Had Gostkowski missed the shorter attempt, it's fair to wonder whether he'd be employed right now.
It's easier to correct issues and pat a guy on the back with "get 'em next time, pal" when it doesn't cost you the game. But it almost did.
Gostkowski isn't alone in his struggles. According to NFL Research, kickers in the NFL combined to convert just 71.6 percent of field goal attempts in Week 1, missed the most field goals in any week since Week 10 of 2011, and set the highest mark for missed field goals in Week 1 since 1982. The 71.6 percent mark was also the lowest combined field goal percentage in a Week 1 since 1998.
The margin for error is slim in the NFL, especially for kickers. Browns kicker Austin Seibert was waived after missing a field goal and a PAT in Week 1. No matter his veteran reputation, Gostkowski is going to have to produce a better outing than he did in Week 1.