Late Gostkowski kick lifts Titans over Broncos in sloppy season opener

By Jim Wyatt, Titans Online

Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski has kicked in Super Bowls, and he has three rings to show for it.

Over the last decade, in fact, he’s been one of the NFL’s very best kickers.

But on Monday night (in a game you heard on Thunder Radio), he had a game he’d like to forget … until the very end.

That’s when Gostkowski stepped up and kicked the game-winner in the team’s 16-14 win over the Broncos.

“It’s definitely an opportunity I didn’t deserve, but grateful I got it for the team,” Gostkowski said. “The guys that went out there and busted their butt, I really put them in a tough spot – you don’t always get that lucky to get a chance to redeem yourself. I am just happy the guys got to celebrate.

“I am disappointed in myself, and embarrassed and frustrated. But at the end of the day we won, and luckily guys are happy going home.”

Gostkowski missed on kicks of 47, 44 (blocked) and 42 for the Titans before he got a chance to kick the game-winner – from 25 yards out, with just 17 seconds left.

It was the 10th career game-winning kick for Gostkowski, a former Patriot.

After the game, Gostkowski said he took the sock off his right foot because it’s a routine he worked with during the summer with success.

“I would have taken my pants off to make that last kick to try something different,” he said with a smile.

The Titans, who had issues at the kicking position last year, signed Gostkowski to solve their problems.

The three-time Super Bowl champion is the Patriots all-time leading scorer, and heading into the game he was ranked 12th in NFL annals with 1,775 career points and 374 field goals. Gostkowski’s 87.4 percent field goal accuracy rate heading into the 2020 season was the highest in Patriots history and fifth in NFL history.

Gostkowski, in a video conference call after the game, thanked his teammates for sticking with him.

“I am just disappointed in myself that I couldn’t bounce back quicker – that is something I usually pride myself on … and it just snowballed. I have to hold my head high and move on to the next one,” he said.

“I just got here, and to come out there and play like that … For guys to support me like that, it was pretty cool. I was grateful for the opportunity at the end, because the guys deserved to win.”