Patriots

Gostkowski breaks consecutive extra point record

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Gostkowski breaks consecutive extra point record

FOXBORO -- Stephen Gostkowski isn't concerned with his place in history at the moment, but he achieved a historic mark in New England's 51-17 victory over Jacksonville on Sunday. 

Following a touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Keshawn Martin in the third quarter, the Patriots kicker made his 423rd consecutive extra point, giving him the NFL record, surpassing Matt Stover's mark of 422 straight extra-points made. 

"That’s not something I try to keep up with, but it was cool," said Gostkowski, who admitted he was reminded of the record before the game when it was mentioned on the Jumbotron.

"It’s always fun to do well and win, just being on a good team that scores a lot of points. When you kick, you’re a beneficiary of opportunity. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to kick a lot of field goals, a lot of extra points. It’s fun when I get to get out there and play and do well."

Gostkowski made three field goals and six extra points in the game during the rout of the Jaguars, and his record-setting point-after was just one of two milestones reached by Patriots players in the game. Brady became the fourth quarterback in the history of the league to hit 400 touchdown passes when he found Danny Amendola in the back of the end zone just before halftime. 

"Tom and also Steve today," Belichick said. "That takes a lot of games, a lot of snaps to do that, and it’s certainly a tribute to both of them, the durability, longevity and obviously consistent production that both of them have had. So, I feel really fortunate to have coached and had guys like that on our team, and those two guys in particular, they had a good day as they’ve had for many, many days in their career. I’m really fortunate to have those guys on this team."

In July, the Patriots signed Gostkowski to a four-year extension that made him the highest-paid kicker in the league after nine years as the league's model of consistency at that position. 

Going into his tenth NFL season, Gostkowski remains firmly among the game's best. He has been a Pro Bowler in each of the last two years, and coming into this season, for his career, he made 86.8 percent of his field goals. In the last two seasons, he's been good on 92.7 (2013) and 94.6 percent (2014) of his kicks. 

Through three games this season, he's continued to earn his money after touchdowns, making the 33-yard point-after attempts that were once much easier. Extra points for Gostkowski's entire career had been 19-yarders until a rule was changed in the offseason, pushing the line of scrimmage back from the two-yard line to the 15-yard line. 

Given the increased difficulty of the kicks, if the rule-change sticks, it could belong to Gostkowski for a long time and may never be broken.

"I'm just trying to adjust to the PATs myself," Gostkowski said. "It's definitely a different approach. It feels like I'm kicking a field goal every time out there. I'm just trying to go out there and do my best at it. I'm glad the coaches have confidence in me to go out there every time."

Gostkowski's streak extends back to the regular-season finale of his rookie season in 2006 when he was off the mark against the Titans in a 40-23 victory. Since then, he's been perfect.

He remembered one extra point in Buffalo in 2008 that was particularly difficult, though. He explained that the winds approached 60 mph that day. 

"I hit one into the wind and it barely went in by like a foot," Gostkowski said. "I kicked it straight up into the air, it came straight down. It was definitely the hardest extra point I had."

In all, Gostkowski has made 458 extra points. Punter Ryan Allen has held for all 101 since 2013, and he was proud to help his teammate hit No. 423. 

"I don't take much credit for it, but all I know is that it's been a pleasure working for him," Allen said. "I think we have a lot of good chemistry. We work well together, and I'm pretty proud of him . . . The guys is a standout at his position, and I've learned a lot from him. It's been an honor and a pleasure to work with him and I value that quite a bit."

Allen said it's been remarkable to watch Gostkowski go through his routine over the years, preparing for kicks essentially any time the Patriots offense crosses the 50-yard line. 

"He understands his progression throughout the game," Allen said. "Steve has his own progression when the offense is moving the ball and we're getting into field goal territory. There's times when you don't talk to him. I know that now, and [rookie long-snapper] Joe [Cardona] knows that.

"We all have our own progression. That's something I've learned from and taken a lot from Steve. He's not too far up when the going is good and he's not too down when the going is down. He's a very even, level-headed player and it creates consistency I think. At the end of the day, I watch a lot of his body mannerisms and how he handles his progressions and it's consistent. That's what it is."

Gostkowski credited players like Allen and Cardona for helping him achieve a mark like the one he hit Sunday.

"It's just a testament to all the snappers and holders I've had here," Gostkowski said. "It doesn't take much to go wrong. A bobbled hold, a break in protection, a low kick by me, a slip in the grass. It's just cool to be able to be consistent. That's what I'm trying to do."

He added: "I’ve got the best holder in the league. I’ve got a bunch of guys who are willing to block every time. We don’t take any plays off here. I guarantee you that if they even come close to getting to a ball, [the coaching staff] will yell at them pretty much all week. Joe Cardona stepped right in and has done a heck of a job snapping. Haven’t missed a beat there. It’s a good team effort. It’s just nice to be on a good team that appreciates all assets of the game. It’s cool to have kicked a ton of kicks for the New England Patriots."

As far as Gostkowski's place in history is concerned, he can wait before he even considers it.

"It’s cool to be mentioned on any kind of list," he said. "It’s something I’ll look back on when I’m done playing and maybe brag to my kids about. But right now, I’m just glad I had a good game, I’m glad we won and I look forward to the early bye week."

Steelers' JuJu Smith-Schuster shares praise Bill Belichick gave him

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Steelers' JuJu Smith-Schuster shares praise Bill Belichick gave him

Pittsburgh Steelers star JuJu Smith-Schuster has become one of the better wide receivers in the NFL in just his second pro season, and he's already earning the respect of the greatest coach in league history.

Smith-Schuster caught four passes for 40 yards in the Steelers' 17-10 win over the New England Patriots at Heinz Field on Sunday, and he tweeted about a special exchange he had with Bill Belichick after the game.

Receiving that kind of praise from a legendary coach like Belichick must've been a real thrill for the 22-year-old receiver.  

Smith-Schuster has 91 receptions for 1,234 yards and six touchdowns through 14 games this season. He ranks fifth among all wide receivers in receiving yards. 

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Stephon Gilmore accuses Antonio Brown of "super dirty" move in Patriots-Steelers

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Stephon Gilmore accuses Antonio Brown of "super dirty" move in Patriots-Steelers

The much-anticipated matchup between New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown -- two elite players at their positions -- wasn't without a few tense moments Sunday.

The two veterans got tangled up during the third quarter of the Steelers' 17-10 win at Heinz Field, and Gilmore explained his side of the exchange after the game.

Gilmore and the Patriots defense mostly kept Brown in check Sunday. The All-Pro wideout had four catches for 49 yards, and 17 of them came on a touchdown reception in the second quarter that put Pittsburgh up 14-7. Brown's 49 yards were his third-fewest total in a game this season.

The Patriots' defense got dominated on the ground but was pretty good in pass coverage. New England allowed just 235 passing yards and intercepted Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger twice. The unit gave up just 17 points, too, which should be enough to win for a team with a Tom Brady-led offense.

RELATED: Updated look at AFC playoff picture>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

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