Gostkowski comes up clutch in Patriots win over Jets

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Gostkowski comes up clutch in Patriots win over Jets

FOXBORO -- Stephen Gostkowski could have relished Sunday's postgame.
After New England's 29-26 win over the Jets he could have taken his time getting changed while the media hoard grew around his locker. The kicker could have grinned while pulling on his socks, back against the reporters who grilled him about the Cardinals in Week 2, before turning to embrace Week 7's gushing about how he won the night.
But he skipped the whole show.
Gostkowski, who stood accountable after missing the potential game-winning 42-yard field goal against Arizona, ducked reporters this Sunday. It would have been a happier conference -- he made one from 43 to force overtime against the pesky Jets, and made another from 48 to finish them off.
The kicks were as clutch as any in his career. Punter Zoltan Mesko seemed to know as much when answering questions on Gostkowski's behalf.
"Best feeling in the world for the guy next to me," he said, nodding toward the vacant locker.
Mesko couldn't avoid the fact his teammates success would be held against Week 2's failure. He admitted the upswing was great -- how could he not? -- but scoffed at the idea it was implausible.
"I mean, I never lost hope . . . " Mesko said, screwing up his face in good-natured annoyance. "He's the guy we trust. He's like a brother to me because we're together all the time."
The ups and downs are perhaps viewed more violently on the outside.
When kickers are consistent, does anyone notice? How many made second quarter field goals are burned into our brains?
Reporters only crowd around a kicker when he saves a game or screws it up.
Gostkowski did talk after Buffalo three weeks ago. He had missed back-to-back attempts from 49 and 42 yards in the Patriots 52-28 win over the Bills. Though there was no loss to pin to his foot, it was considered an "off" day and he was expected to answer for it.
Have to ride the wave," Gostkowski had said. "Got knocked off board a couple times. Going to get right back up.
"You can get too high on yourself when youre doing really well, or you cant get too low on yourself when you do bad."
Maybe that's what this Sunday's disappearance was about -- not getting too high. A kicker who makes field goals is just doing what's expected of him, right? No matter the opponent, no matter the score.
"We're going to have our waves, we've just got to ride them less and less," Mesko explained. "I mean, don't make them as big as they are."
To Gostkowski's credit, those field goals couldn't have been bigger.

Belichick: Sunday a 'rare opportunity' to watch upcoming opponent live

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Belichick: Sunday a 'rare opportunity' to watch upcoming opponent live

How do the Patriots handle Sundays after Thursday night games? Bill Belichick says he won't be glued to the television as New England's next opponent, Buffalo, takes on Arizona. But he will be watching and thinking through situations as they play out live. 

"I think for today, we've done preparation work on the Bills in their first two games, so this is one of those rare opportunities where you can kind of watch the game with a little bit of an idea of how you would want to play it or what you would want to do in certain situations," Belichick said in a conference call on Sunday. "Then, obviously not knowing what they'll do, kind of see how that goes, see what they'll do in those situations compared to what you think they're going to do. Or have they come up with something else, or is this situation a little bit different and has that changed their strategy or play-calling or whatever that happens to be?"

One of the elements of the game that Belichick may give a little extra thought to is how the Bills run their offense under new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, who replaced Greg Roman after Roman was fired following Buffalo's Week 2 loss to the Jets.

"Obviously, with a new coordinator, defensively we'll have to pay attention and see what changes or modifications they will make this week," Belichick said. "That may be an ongoing process. I don't know if they do decide to change things whether they could get it all done this week or maybe it would take a period of time, but we'll kind of keep our eye on that.

"In the end, we'll have the film by the end of the day today so that'll answer a lot more questions than the live part of it will. But the live part of it, I'd say as we're working on the scouting report for Buffalo, you can kind of have that game on in the background, sort of keep your eye on it, and see how it goes. But I wouldn't say we're just glued to the TV because we'll see everything that we need to see in a matter of hours anyway."

Belichick concerned about availability of QBs? 'Injury report on Wednesday'

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Belichick concerned about availability of QBs? 'Injury report on Wednesday'

Bill Belichick has a pair of young quarterbacks dealing with injuries at the moment. Jimmy Garoppolo was inactive for Thursday's win over the Texans due to a Grade 2 AC joint sprain he endured in Week 2 against the Dolphins, and Jacoby Brissett sustained a minor injury to his right thumb in his first pro start last week. 

Asked if he was concerned about either player being available for New England's Week 4 contest against the Bills, Belichick didn't provide much in the way of hints one way or another.

"Well, we'll all give our injury report on Wednesday, as we always do, as we're required to do," Belichick said. "Based on where things are at that point, that'll be represented in the report."

If there's concern over both quarterbacks as the team gets closer to its final game without Tom Brady, it may be forced to add a quarterback so as not to subject an emergency option, like receiver Julian Edelman, to extended snaps behind center.