Patriots

Stephen Gostkowski: 'Inexcusable' to miss extra point attempt

Stephen Gostkowski: 'Inexcusable' to miss extra point attempt

FOXBORO – Stephen Gostkowski’s been arguably the best kicker in football over the past three seasons. But so far this year, it’s been a struggle. Going into Sunday’s game against the Bengals, Gostkowski had missed three field goals in five games.

How uncommon was that? He’d missed eight in his previous 48 regular-season games, three total misses in both 2013 and 2015 and two in 2014.

Sunday, even though he made a 46-yarder earlier, his missed an extra point in the third quarter after a James White touchdown. He barely squeezed through a 31-yard field goal in the fourth.

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“For me, that’s inexcusable to miss a kick like that,” Gostkowski said of the extra point. "For me, I’ve had a few missed swings this year and I’m just trying to go out there and do my best to tighten it up. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you get unlucky, sometimes you’re just not as good as you need to be. I’m just trying to get to a point where I’m a consistent player on this team. That’s all I work for.”

It’s safe now to call Gostkowski’s start to this season a slump. He just doesn’t miss this often. He knows that.

“Sometimes you just can’t explain how and why things happen,” he said. “At the end of the day, we won. Got the game started off with a nice kick, had some good kickoffs. I just need to focus on the positives instead of dwelling on the negatives. It’s part of the game as a kicker, when you screw up, everybody notices you.”

The miss that may have started this skid could have been in the AFC Championship Game last season at Denver when Gostkowski missed his first extra point since 2006. Sunday, he missed his first regular season PAT since then.

“There’s still time,” he said. “I’ll do my best to straighten ‘em out. That’s the way the cookie crumbles, my man. I’m just happy we’re winning.”

The time will inevitably come when Gostkowski’s called on for a true pressure kick. An end-of-game job that will have folks wringing hands about the outcome until it goes through. Or doesn’t. Such is the life of a kicker.

PFF ranks Trent Brown, Marcus Cannon two of the best tackles in AFC East

PFF ranks Trent Brown, Marcus Cannon two of the best tackles in AFC East

New England's offensive line was a large part of the reason they won the Super Bowl; they managed to keep Brady upright despite facing talented pass-rushers in every playoff game, all while running roughshod over their opponents. 

Two cornerstones of their success came in the form of the two big tackles, Trent Brown and Marcus Cannon. While they weren't quite as dominant during the regular season, they still managed to rank as two of the best five tackles in the AFC East, with Cannon coming out as the best in the division according to PFF's rankings. 

Brown, an unrestricted free agent, was a key offseason addition for the Pats, who managed to acquire him from San Francisco for merely a fifth-round pick. Unfortunately, Brown's play may have priced him out of the Patriots' range, but they have his likely successor in the wings in the form of Isaiah Wynn. 

AREAS OF CHANGE

Cannon managed to stay on the field this year after finishing the previous season on the IR, playing in 13 games. He was excellent when he did play, and was a big part in shutting down the edge rushers of the Chargers and Chiefs in January. 

Brown may be gone by the time training camp rolls around, but Cannon is in the midst of a five-year deal, and will be the team's starting right tackle for the next few years, barring any injuries. If he can keep up his excellent play while remaining healthy enough for the playoffs, New England won't have to worry about the right side of the line for years to come. 

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Robert Kraft is at the NBA All-Star game with Mike Rubin

Robert Kraft is at the NBA All-Star game with Mike Rubin

As Celtics guard Kyrie Irving gets set to start for Team LeBron in the 2019 NBA, Robert Kraft appears to be in attendance with his friend Mike Rubin. 

Rubin is a co-owner of the 76ers, New Jersey Devils and an executive chairman for Fanatics, among other companies. He and Kraft have been friends for years, most notably when they both visited Meek Mill in prison and became outspoken on the United States' criminal justice system. 

Kraft and Patriots coach Bill Belichick are known for attending Celtics games from time-to-time so it's not new for the Patriots to have a presence whenever the Celtics are involved. 

The NBA All-Star game tips off at 8 p.m. EST in Charlotte. 

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