Stephen Gostkowski was left feeling “embarrassed and frustrated” despite making the game-winning kick for the Tennessee Titans at the Denver Broncos.
Gostkowski’s 25-yard field goal with 17 seconds left secured a 16-14 win over the Broncos at Sports Authority Field on Monday.
It was otherwise a debut to forget for the four-time Pro Bowler, who became the first kicker to miss four kicks in his first game with a team since Dennis Partee did so for the San Diego Chargers in 1968.
Gostkowski missed from 47 yards in the first quarter, 44 yards before the first half ended and 42 yards in the third, with another attempt blocked by Shelby Harris.
It was the first time he has missed three field goal attempts in a game during a career in which he has gone an entire season missing fewer than four on five separate occasions.
“It’s tough. It’s a very fickle position. It’s definitely an opportunity I didn’t deserve but grateful that I got it for the team and the guys that went out there and busted their butt,” he said.
“I really put them in a tough spot. You don’t always get the chance to redeem yourself. I’m just happy the guys got to celebrate.
“I’m disappointed in myself, embarrassed and frustrated, but at the end of the day, we won, and luckily the guys are happy going home.”
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel insisted he had no doubts over Gostkowski lining up for the game-winner even if the Broncos perhaps thought differently.
“Nope, and they did, obviously, because they weren’t using the timeouts, they were banking on him missing,” he said.
“We’ve all got to do our job. It’s not just on one player. We’ll get this stuff fixed. We’ve got a lot of faith in our players. We’re excited to get out of there with a win – it’s a tough place to play.
“It’s like sitting there and being like, ‘Well, it’s been red 10 times on roulette, so I’m going to bet black because it’s been red 10 times,’ and it doesn’t work that way.
“I just felt like we were going to be able to make the field goal and that was the right play. That’s the proper way to approach it and everybody did their job on the last one.”