DENVER — An hour after the game, New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski still felt the sting of a rare missed extra point.
Gostkowski sent his PAT wide right early in a 20-18 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday in the AFC championship game. It was his first missed PAT in nine years.
"I just feel terrible," Gostkowski said. "All day, these guys put their bodies and lives on the line, and for me to come out here and miss a kick, it’s a nightmare scenario. I can’t even explain how I feel right now. It’s just a complete shock and I let a lot of people down."
His teammates weren’t about to lay the blame at the right foot of Gostkowski, who had made an NFL-record 523 consecutive PATs.
"You definitely shouldn’t put the heat on him. It’s a team game," tight end Rob Gronkowski said. "You can’t put it on the hands of Steph. There’s no way."
Gostkowski said he just didn’t "hit a good kick" following Steven Jackson’s 1-yard touchdown run with 1:49 remaining in the first quarter. After the miss, the Broncos held a 7-6 lead.
Gostkowski’s only other miss came in Week 17 of his rookie season in 2006 against Tennessee.
After Gronkowski caught a 4-yard TD pass with 12 seconds remaining in the game, the Patriots went for the 2-point conversion as they tried to tie the game. On the attempt, Tom Brady’s pass was picked off.
"I should have been out there kicking the tying extra point and helping us go into overtime," Gostkowski said. "I had a good week of practice. Sometimes, things don’t fall your way.
"It just stinks. It’s a nightmare. You want to help your team win. You don’t want to be the reason you lose."