Stephen Gostkowski made a big kick on Monday night, but it was a big kick just because he had missed so many times before.
Gostkowski missed field goal attempts from 47 and 42 yards, had another blocked field goal attempt and pulled a PAT in his debut for the Titans. As Tennessee was on track to get a starting point at the end of the fourth quarter, people were wondering if coach Mike Vrabel should send him back.
Vrabel invoked his former Patriots teammate, and Gostkowski drilled 25 yards with 17 seconds left. Those were the winning points in their new team’s 16-14 victory over the Broncos.
“It’s definitely an opportunity I didn’t deserve,” Gostkowski said he told reporters in his so-called Zoom postgame, for NFL.com. “Ma [I’m] thanks I got it for the team and the guys who went out and busted my ass. I really put them in a hard place. You’re not always lucky enough to have the opportunity to redeem yourself. “
“I’m unhappy with myself and embarrassed and frustrated, but at the end of the day we’re done and luckily the guys are happy to be back home,” he added.
Vrabel said he had nothing essential to give Gostkowski the last chance to succeed.
“No, it is [the Broncos] it did, of course, because they weren’t using their downtime (Denver had stayed all three) and they were missing banks, ”Vrabel said.
Yet, so much for Gostkowski that he erased the memory of last season’s terrible kick in Nashville. Ryan Succop and Cairo Santos reunited to go 5 for 15 on field goal attempts in 2019. Cody Parkey, ol ’Mr. Double Doink himself helped the percentage going 3 by 3.
Tennessee came to the AFC championship game last season despite all that failure, but 8 for 18 is something of the ’50s and’ 60s when the linemen doubled as kickers.
Enter Gostkowski, 36, who was 7 for 8 on field goals, but only 11 for 15 on PATs for New England last year. He missed the Patriots ’last 12 regular-season games and his only playoff game – a home loss for the Titans – with a hip injury.
The Pats cut him last March after 14 seasons. The Titans signed him to a one-year, $ 2.75 million contract on Sept. 3, with $ 2 million of that money becoming guaranteed on Monday.
That contact and Vrabel’s stated trust in him should, in theory, keep Gostkowski a little behind. But after a 2-for-6 night in ideal weather conditions, Gostkowski should know that nothing is guaranteed beyond Week 1.