Gostkowski takes blame for bad kickoff

MIAMI -- New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski took the blame for his kickoff that sailed out of bounds, giving the Miami Dolphins the ball at the 40-yard line to set up their game-winning touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.

The Patriots had just scored to go ahead 20-17 with 4:07 remaining when Gostkowski, who has been a star performer in the two games leading into Sunday, made the uncharacteristic mistake.

“It was just a case of over-kicking and trying to kill the ball. It was not a good kick at all,” Gostkowski said following the Patriots’ 24-20 loss. “It was terrible timing. It’s a play I definitely wish I could take back. It stinks to lose and stinks to have an effect on the game like that.”

The play, reminiscent of Carolina kicker John Kasay’s miscue in Super Bowl XXXVIII that helped the Patriots win in thrilling fashion, likely had an effect on the Dolphins’ play-calling. The Dolphins faced fourth-and-5 from their own 45-yard line and successfully went for it, a decision they might not have made if they were at their 25.

Gostkowski, who had field goals of 22 and 23 yards, explained that he wasn’t in control as he struck the ball. Earlier in the game, he missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt wide left.

“I felt like I hit it pretty well and the wind was blowing left to right all day, and I played it left-middle,” he said. “I felt like I hit it right where I aimed and it just kind of leaked left a little.

“It’s upsetting. There are very few times when I feel like I hit a good kick and I miss. Usually you just hit a crappy kick. I felt like I put a good swing on it, it was a good operation. Today just wasn’t our day and it stinks to play terrible and you lose. It’s like pouring salt on the wound.”