Gostkowski ready for anything in playoffs


Gostkowski ready for anything in playoffs

FOXBORO - Fourteen field goals were kicked in the Wild Card round of the 2012 NFL playoffs.

Any team with a prayer of sticking around long in the postseason needs to be able to rely on its placekicker at some point.

This season, Stephen Gostkowski was good but not great for the Patriots. He made 29 of his 35 attempts, missing twice between 30 and 39 yards and four times between 40 and 49.

He missed one kick in each of the Patriots last three games (39, 43 and 41 yards). They'll need him to be better than that in the playoffs.

Gostkowski generally sails along unperturbed and he was this week when I asked him about the game coming down to his toe.

"You never know what you're gonna get and how many kicks you're gonna get," he said. "You just gotta be ready for anything. You could kick no field goals, you could kick five. You just never know."

With mild weather forecast for Sunday evening, Gillette may not provide a true home-field advantage in terms of the elements. But Gostkowski believes being in Foxboro brings an advantage because he's kicked in all types of weather.

"It's more comfortable with just the process of playing at home," he said. "It's definitely a tougher place to kick up here than some other places but luckily for us we get to practice outside every day. Cold and windy feels more normal than if I were to go down to 80 degree weather.

"On the flip side, if you're practicing in a dome every day, it would be a lot different coming up to cold and windy," he added. "Everybody plays better at home, or seems to. I don't think it could be any different for our position."

Houston's kicker Shayne Graham -- who kicked for the Patriots in 2010 when Gostkowski was injured -- was 31 for 38 this season. He made four last week in the Wild Card game against the Bengals. He also played for Cincinnati, so the elements aren't going to be unfamiliar for him.

Still, said Gostkowski, the unknown lurks when it comes to weather.

"You never know," he said. "We had that one day against Tennessee (in 2009) where there was zero chance of precipitation and we got a foot of snow."

AFC: Vinatieri sets NFL record for consecutive field goals in Colts' win


AFC: Vinatieri sets NFL record for consecutive field goals in Colts' win

Ex-Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri hits his 43rd consecutive field goal, setting an NFL record, in the Colts' 34-26 victory over the Titans.

Click here for the game story.

AFC EAST: Ajayi runs for 200 yards for second game in row as Dolphins top Bills


AFC EAST: Ajayi runs for 200 yards for second game in row as Dolphins top Bills

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Jay Ajayi tied an NFL record by surpassing 200 yards rushing for the second game in a row, helping the Miami Dolphins rally past the Buffalo Bills 28-25 Sunday.

Ajayi rushed for 214 yards in 29 carries after totaling 204 yards a week earlier in a win over Pittsburgh. He scored on a 4-yard run , and busted a 53-yarder when the Dolphins were pinned at their 3 and trailing in the fourth quarter.

The Dolphins (3-4) used an extra lineman much of the time to clear big holes for Ajayi, who tied the NFL record for consecutive 200-yard games held by O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.