For 14 years, Stephen Gostkowski was the most dependable of kickers for the New England Patriots, the heir to legend Adam Vinatieri.

Now, he’s a member of the Tennessee Titans, and in their opening game of the season — an eventual 16-14 win over the Denver Broncos — he had a rare awful game in which he eventually redeemed himself.

In the first quarter, he missed from 47 yards out. With eight seconds to go in the second, he had a 44-yarder blocked. Midway through the third, an attempt from 42 yards was wide left. And early in the fourth, after a Jonnu Smith touchdown catch, he missed a point after try.

But all was redeemed in the end when he hit this chip shot — which must have not felt that way for him — from 25 yards out with 17 seconds to go:

Gostkowski made the wrong kind of personal history on Monday night:

But he’s still clutch!

At one point during his awful night, he took off his sock and shoe. Here’s why, via NFL.com:

“When I’ve been practicing in the summer, I practiced without socks all summer and then I started putting ’em on,” Gostkoswki said. “I mean, I would’ve taken my pants off to make that last kick, to try something different. I wasn’t doing very well, I had to switch something up, maybe just for mental sake. You know, just kind of a weird quirk I guess.”

And I love head coach Mike Vrabel’s quote about it:

“It’s like sitting there and being like, well it’s been red 10 times on roulette so I’m gonna bet black because it’s been red 10 times and it doesn’t work that way,” Vrabel said. “I just felt like we were gonna be able to make the field goal and that was the right play. That’s the proper way to approach it and everybody did their job on the last one.”

Will Vrabel trust him again after this week? Stay tuned.

 

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