FOXBOROUGH –Stephen Gostkowski compared his job as the Patriots field goal kicker to that of a big-wave surfer, where sometimes you ride the wave and other times the wave rides you.
After missing back-to-back field goal attempts from 49 and 42 yards in last Sunday’s 52-28 victory at Buffalo, Gostkowski is hoping to redeem himself Sunday against the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium by getting back up on his feet and getting back onboard.
“Have to ride the wave,’’ Gostkowski said Thursday in the Patriots locker room. “Got knocked off board a couple times. Going to get right back up.”
Although he wound up making his third and final attempt against the Bills, a 30-yard conversion that capped a 31-point fourth quarter for the Patriots, Gostkowski said his faith in himself never wavered.
“I take the same approach every week, whether it’s good or bad,’’ Gostkowski said. “You can get too high on yourself when you’re doing really well, or you can’t get too low on yourself when you do bad.
“I just try to stay even and go back to work and focus a little harder,’’ he said. “It’s not that I’m not kicking enough; I’m kicking plenty. It’s not that I’m not practicing [well]; I’m practicing very well. It’s just a matter of execution. I have to do a better job of executing.’’
Gostkowski has converted 10 of 13 field goal attempts thus far this season. All three of his misses have come from 42 yards and out. He has, however, been perfect on all 14 of his PATs.
“I’ve been here before,’’ Gostkowski said of his recent struggles. ``I’ve missed – I don’t know – two kicks in a row maybe twice in my career, but it has happened. I’ve missed big kicks in my career going down to high school and I’ve moved on from that and there’s no reason why I don’t think I can run off 10-15 in a row.
“It’s just a matter of focus, hard work and execution,’’ he said. “That’s what I’m trying to do.’’
While it was suspected the Patriots might begin auditioning kickers this week, coach Bill Belichick voiced his support for Gostkowski Monday, saying it didn’t come down to one man. It was more a function of the kicking operation as a whole – snapper, holder and kicker.
“I have a lot of confidence in those players – [long snapper] Danny [Aiken], [holder] Zoltan Zoltan [Mesko], Steve,’’ Belichick said. “We’ve made a lot of them. Unfortunately we’ve missed a few, but we’ll keep working at it and try to improve it – coach it better and execute it better.’’
Said Gostkowski: “I try to take the positives out of what happened. The kicks I did miss, they weren’t by much. It’s just a matter of fine tuning. My leg strength feels great. I’m crushing the ball on kickoffs. I’ve just got to pay a little more attention to detail, but things will work out.
“I’ve been working hard and I wouldn’t change anything in the way I prepare. I’ve just got to focus and execute better.’’Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.