Patriots Notebook

Stephen Gostkowski reflects on clutch kicks

The winning field goal brought a thumbs-up from Stephen Gostkowski (though it was his foot that did all the work).
jim davis/globe staff
The winning field goal brought a thumbs-up from Stephen Gostkowski (though it was his foot that did all the work).

FOXBOROUGH — After reviewing the play, the only minor drawback for Stephen Gostkowski Sunday was the new overtime rules implemented by the NFL. They cost him the opportunity to celebrate what in years past would have been a game-winning field goal.

But Gostkowski wasn’t complaining. His two clutch kicks — a 43-yarder on the final play of regulation to force overtime, then a 48-yarder in the extra session — helped the Patriots beat the Jets, 29-26. It was his first shot at a last-second pressure kick since missing one badly that would have beaten the Cardinals Sept. 16. Given another chance, he came through — twice.

“It was positive for everybody,” said Gostkowski. “We won, and I got a chance to help the team and I came through. It was fun, it was a good feeling to come out with a win, a division win against a team we like to beat.”


The key, Gostkowski said, is not to overthink. Not exactly easy, with the game on the line, but repetition breeds success.

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“I don’t think, ‘Well, this situation is bigger than the other,’ I just try to kick and make every kick I possibly can,” Gostkowski said. “I try to keep the same focus.

“The dramatics of it might change when you look back at it, but during the game I want to make every kick, and if I would have missed a kick in the first quarter, I’d be just as upset as if I missed one at the end of the game.

“I just try to stay even, keep my head low, do my job, and show up and work each day. Things work themselves out if you work hard and put your talent to good use.”

London calling

The calendar might have said Tuesday, but because of the unusual week facing the Patriots — they’ll fly Thursday night to London — the typical preparation made Tuesday feel like a Wednesday.


Tuesday is usually an off day for players. However, coach Bill Belichick isn’t counting on Friday being a very productive practice day. Hence the condensed schedule.

“This is kind of like a Wednesday for us, quick turnaround here after the Jets game and we’re on to St. Louis,” Belichick said. “We’re going to try to add a little bit of extra time on the back end to rest and get adjusted and all that rather than spend it on game-planning.

“We’re going to [devise and implement the game plan] on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday instead of Wednesday/Thursday/Friday. We’ll take Friday as a travel day; obviously we’re traveling Thursday night, but the whole traveling, get adjusted, get settled, we’ll see how much we actually get done that day.

“I won’t say it’s a lost day, but I think it’s a big transition day for us. Then Saturday, we’ll get back to our regular routine, treat Saturday as a normal Saturday.”

The Rams flew to London from St. Louis Monday night, arriving locally on Tuesday morning. They’ll have a three-day head start on their opponents, but it didn’t sound as though the Patriots were packing their Frommer’s guides.


Asked if he would try to see Queen Elizabeth, running back Stevan Ridley said, “If she calls, yeah. I don’t want to say it’s a vacation, because we’re going to handle business and take care of football.”

Said running back Shane Vereen: “I just want to see the soldiers outside of the [Buckingham] palace that can’t smile, that’s all. I’ll try [to make them smile], but I just want to take a picture of those guys.”

Gregory wants in

Steve Gregory doesn’t know whether he will be cleared to play against the Rams. The safety has missed the last three games because of a hip injury.

But the road trip is one Gregory doesn’t want to miss.

On Oct. 26, 2008, while playing for San Diego, Gregory and the Chargers lost to New Orleans at Wembley Stadium, 37-32.

“It’s definitely a cool experience,” Gregory said. “Obviously it’s a long flight and things like that. But it’s no longer than it is going out to the West Coast.”

Following a 23-14 road loss to Buffalo Oct. 19, 2008, the Chargers traveled directly to London. They practiced overseas for a full week before squaring off against the Saints.

“We’ll get out there in plenty of time to adjust to the time and all that stuff,” Gregory said. “It will be a good experience for the guys that haven’t been.

“Any time you play on the road, it doesn’t matter where you are, your routine gets a little bit adjusted,” Gregory said. “You’ve got to adjust to where you are and the things you’re doing. We’ll adjust and we’ll get those things going right.”

On the mark

St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford completed 21 of 34 passes in a 30-20 loss to Green Bay last Sunday. But where he might be most dangerous is in the short game. He has completed 65 percent of passes 10 yards or shorter.

“He’s smart,” Belichick said. “He really sees coverages well. He reads things well. He has a good understanding of the passing game. He’s accurate throwing the ball. Good mechanics. Tough kid. He’s got a lot going for him. Good quarterback.”

Last year, Bradford worked under Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who held the same position in St. Louis. Belichick said he has talked with McDaniels about Bradford during their preparation for the Rams.

“He’s a good quarterback,” Gregory said. “He spreads the ball around.” We’re going to have to be ready for him and try to pick up on some of his tendencies, things he’s doing on the field.”

Injury report

Four players — Gregory, cornerback Ras-I Dowling, running back Brandon Bolden, and linebacker Tracy White — did not participate in Tuesday’s walkthrough, which was held behind Gillette Stadium. Dowling was injured during Sunday’s game, while Gregory (hip), Bolden (knee), and White (foot) have all missed games recently because of injury. Bolden was in the locker room before practice, with a protective sleeve on his left leg and perhaps the slightest sign of a limp . . . Guard Logan Mankins, who has been dealing with hip and calf ailments and was inactive for the Jets game, took part in the walkthrough. So did tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, who practiced for the first time since being placed Sept. 5 on injured reserve with a designation to return. Shiancoe was eligible to return to practice after Week 6, and can play in games after Week 8. Now that he’s returned to practice, Shiancoe has 21 days to be elevated to the 53-man active roster. If he’s not, he’ll remain on injured reserve . . . Matt Tennant, an offensive lineman from BC who was released by the Patriots on Saturday, signed with the Eagles.

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer. Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.