Gostkowski comes up clutch in Patriots win over Jets

Gostkowski comes up clutch in Patriots win over Jets
October 22, 2012, 1:28 am
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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.