Patriots

Ex-Pats kicker Gostkowski had roller-coaster Titans debut

Patriots

And you thought Tom Brady had a rough first game outside New England.

Kicker Stephen Gostkowski made his debut for the Tennessee Titans on Monday night after spending his previous 14 seasons with the Patriots.

Gostkowski appeared in just four games for New England last season due to injury -- and let's just say the rust hasn't worn off.

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The 36-year-old missed four kicks in Tennessee's season opener against the Denver Broncos, going 1-for-4 on field goals and 1-for-2 on extra points.

But in a twist fitting for the man whose leg has won multiple Super Bowls, the one kick Gostkowski made was a game-winner: a 25-yarder with 17 seconds to play that clinched a 16-14 Titans win.

About those misses, though.

Needless to say, Gostkowski had never missed three field goals in a game as a Patriot, and his nightmare outing Monday did a number to his career stats.

The four-time Pro Bowler admitted he was "embarrassed and frustrated" by his woeful performance, but the obvious silver lining is that his lone make erased his other four misses -- and that he's still one of the most clutch kickers in NFL history.

Gostkowski's former teammate, Patriots offensive guard Shaq Mason, was among those proud to see the veteran come through. (Warning: Tweet contains NSFW language).

So, how did Gostkowski rally to make his final kick after shanking four earlier in the night? Cameras caught the former Patriot actually removing the sock from his kicking foot early in the fourth quarter.

 

"When I've been practicing in the summer, I practiced without socks all summer and then I started putting 'em on," Gostkoswki said after the game, via NFL.com.

"I mean, I would've taken my pants off to make that last kick, to try something different."

Fortunately, Gostkowski didn't need to completely disrobe to improve to 1-0 with his new club -- and have a better record than his ex-teammate, Brady.