Patriots

Gostkowski makes 'em all: 'It's nice that I got a clean game'

Gostkowski makes 'em all: 'It's nice that I got a clean game'

Stephen Gostkowski had a good day. It's probably been a few weeks since he felt that way leaving a football game. 

After missing three field goals between Weeks 2 and 5 and consecutive extra points in Weeks 6 and 7, Gostkowski said, "I stink right now." But on Sunday, in a 41-25 win at Buffalo, in rainy and windy conditions, Gostkowski made all seven kicks he attempted -- two field goals and five extra points -- and may have felt as though he had a weight lifted off of his shoulders. 

PATRIOTS 41, BILLS 25:

If he did, he wouldn't admit it to Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran after the game.

"I don't think like that," Gostkowski said when asked if he felt like he "needed" the 51-yarder he kicked at the end of the first half. "I try to make every kick I can. It's nice that I got a clean game."

Gostkowski did acknowledge that the conditions in Orchard Park were less than ideal on Sunday afternoon. It rained throughout, and the wind, as it often does at New Era Field, was swirling. The 51-yarder was blown in two different directions before skidding off the uprights and through. 

"Buffalo's a tough place to kick," he said. "There's a lot of wind all the time. But that's what we deal with on a daily basis so luckily we get good practice at it."

When asked about Gostkowski's performance after the game, which has been almost a weekly ritual this season, Belichick once again threw his support behind the Patriots kicker who's in his 11th season.

"Steve’s one of the best kickers in the league," Belichick said. "We have a lot of confidence in him. When we need a kick, there’s nobody better to send out there than him. Nobody better to send out than Steve. He's another mentally-tough guy."

Report: Gronk doesn't travel with Patriots, but not ruled out yet

Report: Gronk doesn't travel with Patriots, but not ruled out yet

Rob Gronkowski didn't travel with the Patriots to Chicago but he's not being ruled out for the game Sunday against the Bears, according to multiple reports.

Gronkowski popped up on the injury report with a back issue for the first time this week on Friday. He had been limited by an ankle injury earlier this season but has played in all six Patriots regular-season games.

Gronkowski was not made available to reporters following Sunday's win over the Chiefs, but he spoke with Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran briefly. Gronkowski later spoke to reporters on Monday and Wednesday. I also caught up with him on Friday for a few minutes.

In none of those media interactions did Gronkowski indicate that he was dealing with a serious ailment. On Wednesday I asked him how he felt.

"Feeling good," he said. "It's football."

No limitations because of his injured ankle, which has had him on the injury report for weeks?

"No," he said. "I feel good."

Our interaction Friday focused on the postgame chat he had with Tom Brady following the win over the Chiefs. Our photographer Glenn Gleason got video of the pair chatting briefly and Brady saying "forever . . . You know that, you know that," followed by Gronkowski saying "appreciate it."

Gronkowski told me the back-and-forth was a byproduct of Gronkowski seeking out his quarterback to thank him for  going to him late in the game. Gronkowski hauled in a pair of long catches to help the Patriots beat the Chiefs, including what was essentially a game-winning completion to set up Stephen Gostkowski for a chip-shot game-winning field goal.

If Gronkowski can't play, as is suspected, the Patriots will likely lean on Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister at tight end. Hollister is dealing with a hamstring injury that has him questionable for Sunday.

The Patriots could also cut back on their tight-end usage overall if Gronkowski can't go, relying on their backs and receivers to move the football against one of the NFL's stingiest defenses through six weeks.

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Reports: Gilmore restructure creates cap space for Patriots, how will they use it?

Reports: Gilmore restructure creates cap space for Patriots, how will they use it?

The recent restructuring of cornerback Stephon Gilmore's contract has given the Patriots more than $5.3 million in cap space to work with. Will they use it to make a deal before the Oct. 30 trade deadline?

The Patriots recently converted most of Gilmore's $4.95 million of salary into a signing bonus prorated over four years, creating $3.7 million in cap room, as first reported by NFL Network's Tom Pelissero

Gilmore's cap number goes from $12.5 million to $8.8, according to Miguel Benzan of Boston Sports Journal. That gives the Pats $5.379 million in cap space, per NFL Players Association records. With needs at safety, linebacker, defensive end and perhaps running back, New England may use that to facilitate a trade by the 4 p.m. deadline Oct. 30. 

The Patriots are usually active at the deadline with most recent notable acquisitions of cornerback Aqib Talib in 2012, linebackers Akeem Ayers and Jonathan Casillas in 2014, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks and linebacker Jonathan Bostic in 2015 and linebacker Kyle Van Noy in 2016, and, of course, the acquisition of a second-round pick from the 49ers for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo last year.

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