Stephen Gostkowski is as dependable as it gets when it comes to kicking footballs.
The Patriots kicker led the NFL in scoring for the fourth straight season, finishing with 151 points - his fourth straight 150-plus point season.
His 87.3-percent field goal accuracy is third-best among NFL kickers all-time, too.
And Gostkowski came into Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Denver Broncos game with another impressive statistic: He had hit his last 523 extra points, dating back to 2006.
But that streak ended in the first quarter, with Gostkowski missing an extra point that would have tied the game, 7-7.
Nobody could have thought it would come back to bite the Patriots the way it did, though.
But there New England was down eight points late in the fourth quarter. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski teamed up for a touchdown with just 12 seconds left the game to trail by two points.
The two-point conversion, however, failed. The Broncos recovered Gostkowski's onside kick, and that was the game.
"I just feel terrible," Gostkowski told reporters after the game. "These guys work a lot, all day, put their bodies and lives on the line. And then come out here and us lose by a point and me miss the kick, it's a nightmare scenario. I can't really explain how I feel right now. It's just kind of shock, and I feel like I let a lot of people down. It's just not a good feeling."
It wasn't a laces-out situation. It wasn't the wind. It was just a fluky missed kicked by one of the game's greats.
"I just didn't hit a good kick. I'm not one to make excuses. I should have made it," Gostkowski said. "I've made hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of those. Sometimes timing is everything. I never would have thought missing a kick in the first quarter would be the difference in the game, but that's why you gotta be good all the time and that wasn't the case for me today."
NFL owners approved the NFL Competition Committee's proposal to move extra points back to the 15-yard line at the start of the 2015-16 season. That turned the extra point into a tougher conversion, as opposed to a virtually automatic one. Still, Gostkowski hadn't missed once this season.
"I'm always upset when I have a bad play. It's part of the job. I feel sorry for myself but I'm not expecting people to feel sorry for me," Gostkowski said. "I work hard to be good, and I came up short today. I let a lot of people down, a lot of guys on the team, a lot of fans. All I can do now is stand up here and take it all on me. I feel like I lost the game for the team. I should have been out there kicking that tying extra point and helping us going into overtime. It's a sickening feeling and I can't put into words. Nothing I can do about it now."
And though Gostkowski, who kicked a 48-yard field goal and 47-yard field goal later in the game, was naturally hard on himself for the missed extra point, his teammates were not putting the blame for the loss on him.
"He's a great player. He's the best, so everyone misses them at some point," Brady told reporters. "There was plenty of football left. We knew what the situation was."
"Stephen does a lot for this team and I'm proud he's part of his organization," Gronkowski told reporters. "I love playing with him and he definitely shouldn't put the heat on him. It's a team game. You win as a team, you lose as a team. It's not just one individual's fault. It's just like I said, Denver just made more plays than us. That's what it came down. But you can't put it in the hands of Steve. There's no way."