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Stephen Gostkowski perfect for Patriots

Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski connected on four field goals, including this 48-yarder in the third quarter.
Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski connected on four field goals, including this 48-yarder in the third quarter.MATTHEW J. LEE/GLOBE STAFF

FOXBOROUGH — It was a perfect day for Stephen Gostkowski. As a result, he’s happy and his children will be, too.

Gostkowski blasted four field goals — including a 48-yarder and a pair of 45-yarders — and both extra points in New England’s 26-10 win over the Rams Sunday.

“It’s a start. It’s one game. It’s nice to contribute to a win,’’ Gostkowski said, before adding with a smile, “So I guess my kids won’t be grounded tonight because I had a good game.’’

Gostkowski has had some uncharacteristic struggles this season, missing four field goals and three extra points.

Despite that, the 11-year veteran has maintained an even keel and said working and adjusting have always been important to his success.


“In athletics, I’ve gone through ups and downs my whole life. I’ve always had confidence when it comes to athletics. It’s sometimes stubborn to a fault,’’ said Gostkowski, who is 16 of 20 on field goals on the season. “As long as I’m out there and getting a chance to play, I expect to do well. No one is harder on themselves than me when I do bad, and I don’t plan on changing any time soon.’’

He said he’s constantly working on his craft — in good times and in bad.

“You fine-tune every week. When you play in New England you have cold weather, hot weather, windy weather, or snow,’’ he said. “It’s a daily change out there and it’s not a climate-controlled environment, so you’re fine-tuning every day. Your body feels different, but you’re going to go through all that during a long season, so it’s no different from any other season I’ve had.’’

It was the third time Gostkowski has made three field goals of 40-plus yards in a game in his career.

Watch: Ben Volin and Jim McBride break down the Patriots’ win

Amendola, Rowe exit

The Patriots’ win did come with a price, as Danny Amendola and Eric Rowe left with injuries and did not return.


Amendola suffered a right ankle injury fielding a punt in the third quarter and was seen leaving the stadium on crutches. He had taken over punt return duties from rookie Cyrus Jones, who muffed his first attempt of the day.

Rowe also was hurt in the third quarter and was sporting an ice wrap on his right hamstring in the locker room.

Jones replaced Rowe at cornerback.

Weapon, indeed

Earlier in the week, coach Bill Belichick had said that Rams punter Johnny Hekker is a weapon. And Hekker heard all the nice things Belichick said.

“It was a good moment,” he said. “It was a proud moment for my parents. That’s how I first heard about it, my dad shot me a text about all the nice things he said.”

Hekker proved Belichick correct with booming punts Sunday. He punted eight times for an average of 53.8 yards and a net of 52.9, including a ridiculous 76-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Just to be clear

Team president Jonathan Kraft cleared up any confusion about when Rob Gronkowski suffered the ruptured disk that forced him to have season-ending back surgery on Friday.

“Rob suffered that injury in the Jets game, contrary to some conspiracy theories,’’ Kraft said on his pregame radio appearance.

Kraft also shot down any notion the team would view the tight end in a different light going forward, considering his myriad ailments.

“Rob’s a dependable football player,’’ Kraft said. “It’s a physical game. Rob’s a big guy and when big guys move that fast things can happen. Rob’s absolutely a dependable football player. He does everything that’s asked of him for this football team.’’


Kraft touched on several other subjects, including Alan Branch’s successful appeal of his four-game suspension — reportedly for a failed marijuana test.

“Alan felt like from the start it was not right. He was so adamant about it,’’ Kraft said. “We’ll take it.’

As for the possibility the Patriots could face the Raiders next season in Mexico City, Kraft is all for it.

“We love playing outside the country,” he said. “We actually played in Mexico against the Cowboys in [1998]. We played down there and we loved it. That stadium is awesome. If the league asked us to do it, we’d love to do it, and it’d be a lot of fun.’’

Men of honor

The Patriots honored their 2001 championship team at halftime.

Team owner Robert Kraft opened the ceremony with a speech about teamwork beating individual players, saying, “Our fans had been waiting for 42 years for the opportunity to celebrate as champions.”

The 2001 team then walked out of the tunnel, led by Drew Bledsoe, Troy Brown, and Lawyer Milloy, who held the Lombardi Trophy.

“It’s good to be home, with the best owners, the best stadium, and the best fans,” Milloy said.

Bledsoe, who spoke next, said, “We were so proud to represent you as our fans in the best way we knew how to do it, as a team. We’re all so proud to be part of the team that started this tradition of winning championships.”


Brown’s message was a little more PG-13: “This day, 15 years ago, we took on the greatest team on turf,” Brown yelled. “That made us the greatest team on [expletive] earth. We did it. We did it.”

Kraft ended by saying, “This team will always have a special place in the hearts of all New England fans.”

Last place you look

Jeff Fisher looked helpless. The Rams coach was trying to challenge the ruling on the field that Brian Quick hadn’t caught a 17-yard pass from Jared Goff in the third quarter, but he couldn’t find his red flag. He eventually got the officials’ attention and the ruling ended up being overturned. Nice touch by the Gillette Stadium crew, which played U2’s “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,’’ during the review . . .

The Patriots did not throw an interception; they’ve only had one all season. The NFL record for fewest interceptions in a season is five, held by many teams . . . Kyle Van Noy’s interception was the first of his career . . . The Patriots were penalized eight times for 46 yards, including two holding calls on Martellus Bennett. The tight end was targeted just four times and had two catches for 4 yards. He did not speak to reporters after the game, which is unusual for him . . . The Rams had five tackles for loss but didn’t sack Tom Brady.


Globe correspondent Everett Cook contributed to this report. Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.