Gostkowski: 'I'm not afraid to fail'

Gostkowski: 'I'm not afraid to fail'
September 16, 2012, 9:52 pm
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FOXBORO -- If a kicker is accurate in his work, you probably won't remember him. Specialists have to do something tremendously heroic, like win a couple Super Bowls, to really become famous. Otherwise, they simply try to avoid infamy.
Stephen Gostkowski addressed quite a crowd, probably the biggest of his career, after New England's 20-18 loss to Arizona on Sunday.
Because he missed one field goal out of five. The game-winner.
"Had a good game up until that point and I felt good going out there," he said of the final kick. "It's just one of those things where you get opportunities like that not very often and I've got to do a lot better job of coming through for the team. It came down to me and I didn't pull through. And it stinks, and I feel bad for my fans and my teammates. I can't take it back now. I went out and felt good about the kick, I just didn't execute."
Gostkowski's chance came with five seconds remaining in the game. Arizona was up 20-18 and had just one minute to kill before flying home with the upset. But the Patriots defense came through. Brandon Spikes knocked the ball loose from Cardinals running back Ryan Williams to regain possession. Tom Brady managed to get Gostkowski on the Arizona 24.
42 yards was all they needed. Patriots fans were going wild. The win was one boot away from soaring into the bag; Gostkowski was ready.
"I felt good going out there," he said. "It wasn't the smoothest hit and I looked up and saw it was left and I was like."
Here, he hung his head.
"Sometimes the ball doesn't fly your way. There's probably not another game where I'd be more confident going out for a kick like that. And it humbles you really quick."
The kicker fell far.
For three quarters Gostkowski was the only Patriot who could score. The guy was booming kicks during warmups, splitting the uprights from 58-yards out with room to spare. During the game he hit from 46, 34, 51, and 53 yards.
Turns out, the early efficiency doesn't mean much. Gostkowski said sometimes a kicker can indeed get in a rhythm, find a zone. But every kick is different. A golden leg two hours before the first snap doesn't guarantee three points when the final score is suddenly resting on your shoulders.
Which is something Gostkowski reconciled long ago.
"I'm not scared to fail," he said evenly. "It stinks when you do, but I wouldn't go out there every day if I was scared to screw up. I'll feel bad about this for a couple days. I'm sure I'll get ripped for it by the fans and stuff, and it's well deserved. My teammates have my back. Nobody feels worse about missing a kick than I do.
"You just have to move on, get over it It's the good ones you get over; it's the bad games that last a while. If I let this affect me negatively, I'm not doing my job. "