“It’s a very fickle position,” Gostkowski said in a postgame video conference with reporters. “It’s an opportunity that I didn’t deserve but grateful that I got it for the team and the guys that went out there and busted their butt. I put them in a tough spot. You don’t always get that lucky to get a chance to redeem yourself. I’m just happy that the guys got to celebrate. I’m disappointed in myself and embarrassed and frustrated. But at the end of the day, we won. And luckily guys are happy going home.”
Gostkowski had sent a 47-yard field goal try wide right, had a 44-yarder blocked and pulled a 42-yarder wide left.
“Some of them, I felt like I hit well,” he said. “It’s a frustrating thing. Maybe my timing was off a little bit, rushing a little bit. I’ve been kicking pretty well, definitely a lot better than that. It’s a very fickle job. It’s an easy job when you’re doing good and it’s a tough job when you’re doing bad. I’m just disappointed in myself that I couldn’t bounce back quicker. That’s usually something that I pride myself on is, ‘On to the next kick. On to the next one, and not let one kick turn into two.’ And obviously it just snowballed from there. I’ve got to just hold my head high and move on to the next one.”
Gostkowski, 36, connected on 87.4 percent of his field goal attempts with the Patriots. He was the fifth-most-accurate field goal kicker in NFL history entering Monday’s game. The Patriots released him in March following a 2019 season in which he was limited to four games and underwent surgery on his left hip.
Titans Coach Mike Vrabel is a former Patriots teammate of Gostkowski and said he never lost faith in his new kicker.
“I told Stephen early on, I think after whatever miss, I said, ‘Hey, you’re going to have an opportunity to win this game. I know you will. And you’re going to make the most of it,’ ” Vrabel said in a postgame video conference.
Gostkowski took the field after a third-and-one incompletion thrown by Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill on a pass into the end zone.
“I just kind of know,” Vrabel said. “I think that you have to. I mean, it’s like sitting there and be like, ‘Well, hey, it’s been red 10 times on roulette. So I’m gonna bet black because it’s been red 10 times.’ It doesn’t work that way. I just felt like we were gonna be able to make the field goal and that was the right play. That’s the proper way to approach it, and everybody did their job on the last one.”
Gostkowski had been spotted earlier removing his kicking shoe and sock on the Titans’ sideline.
“When I’d been practicing in the summer, I practiced without socks all summer,” Gostkowski said. “Then I started putting them on. I mean, I would have taken my pants off to make that last kick to try something different. I wasn’t doing very well. I had to switch something up, maybe just for mental sake. It’s just kind of a weird quirk, I guess.”
Titans kickers were a league-worst 8 for 18 on field goal attempts during the 2019 regular season. The kicking misadventures continued for much of the night Monday, until Gostkowski’s final kick.
Broncos Coach Vic Fangio inexplicably opted against using his timeouts with his team on defense, failing to preserve time on the clock for his offense to respond. The Broncos ended up needing another miss from Gostkowski.
“It doesn’t do any good to just fold and like give up and quit,” Gostkowski said. “I’m never going to do that. It is a mental position and you’ve got to be pinpoint accurate. Tonight I was anything but that. But I always like to try to keep my head up, try to keep a positive attitude even when it looks pretty gloom and doom. Like I said, I’m just lucky that the team bailed me out, got down the field and gave me a shot at the end.”