Stephen Gostkowski equaled an NFL record as he kicked the Tennessee Titans to victory over the Denver Broncos on Monday night.
With the Titans trailing by one point and 17 seconds left in the game, Gostkowski nailed a 25-yard field goal to lift Tennessee to a 16-14 win on Monday Night Football, joining Cleveland Browns kicker Cody Parkey as the only kickers over the last 10 years to win a game despite missing four kicks.
While Gostkowski was ultimately the hero for the Titans, the only reason Tennessee needed a last-gasp field goal to win their season opener was the 36-year-old’s uncharacteristically wayward kicking during the game.
The Titans kicker left 10 points on the board, missing a 47-yard field goal in the first quarter and having a 43-yard effort blocked by Shelby Harris just before halftime. In the third quarter, Gostkowski pulled a 42-yard effort wide left and then missed a PAT attempt after Tennessee had taken the lead with 13:49 left in the game.
Despite Gostkowski’s struggles, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel never lost confidence in his kicker and told him he would get the chance to win the game at the end.
« I just kind of know, » Vrabel told reporters after the game. « It’s like it’s been red 10 times on roulette so I’m going to bet black this time. »
Gostkowski’s inaccuracy was all the more surprising given he has been one of the best kickers in the NFL since being selected by the New England Patriots in the fourth round of the 2006 draft.
During a 14-season spell with the Patriots, Gostkowski won three Super Bowls and was named to the Pro Bowl four times. When the Patriots released him in March, Gostkowski left Foxborough as the franchise’s all-time scoring leader.
The All-Pro kicker converted seven of eight kicks last year, before he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 4. After becoming a free agent in March, Gostkowski underwent hip surgery during the offseason and signed a one-year deal worth $2.75 million with the Titans last week.
Tennessee signed the veteran kicker to shore up a kicking unit that ranked last in the NFL last season, when the Titans converted just 44 percent of their 18 field goals, despite using four different kickers.
By comparison, Gostkowski entered Monday Night Football having made 87.4 percent of his career kicks, the fifth-highest figure in NFL history.
The last player to miss at least three field goals and a PAT in the same game was Mason Crosby, who missed four field goals and an extra-point attempt for the Green Bay Packers against the Detroit Lions in 2018.
To find the last Titans player to miss at least three field goals and a PAT in the same game, one has to go back in history all the way to 1977 when the franchise was still known as the Houston Oilers and Skip Butler missed three field goals and a PAT attempt in the opening game of the season against the New York Jets.
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