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Titans Kicker Stephen Gostkowski Kicks Game-Winner for Third Week in a Row


MINNEAPOLIS – Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski is doing what the Titans signed him to do – make field goals.

And the long-time NFL kicker made a lot of them here on Sunday to lift the Titans to a 31-30 win over the Vikings here at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Remember that shaky start for Gostkowski in Denver?

It's long been forgotten now, as Gostkowski has kicked game-winning field goals in each of the first three weeks of the season.

"You play this game for a long time, and you are going to have good and bad things happen," Gostkowski said after kicking six field goals, including the game-winner from 55 yards on Sunday. "Obviously I was rusty that first game – I didn't feel great, and obviously played one of the worst games I've ever played. But the worst thing you can do is change everything – you need to stick with what gets you there … and focus up a little more.

"It's nice to be up here (today on a Zoom call) not in an embarrassed state and be excited for a victory. … It's a lot more fun to be an asset than a liability."

Gostkowski kicked the game-winner with 1:44 remaining.

On Sunday, the former Patriots kicker also made kicks of 30, 31, 39, 51 and 54 yards.

"He's just doing his job," Titans Coach Mike Vrabel said of Gostkowski, his former teammate in New England. "Stephen prepares and obviously we're very confident in him, and today we needed him to help the Titans win.

"Steve had a day today, we're appreciative of that, and we hung around just long enough to make the plays in the end."

In the opener at Denver, Gostkowski missed three field goals, and an extra point.

But after ditching the sock he'd been wearing on his right foot, he kicked the game-winning field goal from 25 yards out to lift the Titans to a 16-14 win. Gostkowski said he kicked without the sock during his offseason workouts, and remembered feeling comfortable, so he took it off.

Gostkowski kicked the game-winning field goal (from 49 yards out with 1:36 left) for the second week in a row last week in a win over the Jaguars. In doing so, he became the first kicker since Adam Vinatieri with New England to make a game-winning field goal in the final two minutes of regulation in each of his team's first two games of the season.

Then came Sunday, when Gostkowski kicked the 12th game-winning kick of his career.

"It's nice to be 3-0," Gostkowski said. "You play for one team a long time, and then you join a team with a week to go in training camp going into the season and you start of the way I did. I had my back up against the wall, and it brought up emotions and feelings like I never had before. And to keep my head down and grind and have some good results, it means a lot."

Gostkowski, for the record, plans to keep kicking without the sock.

"It's a little bit like baseball, you do something when you are in a slump, and you try something else and you get on a roll," Gostkowski said. "I think my experience playing multiple sports kind of helps you be able to move on. A sport like baseball, you give up a home run, you strike out, and you're embarrassed. You just have to turn the page and that's what I did.

"I am only three games in. I have a long way to go, and a lot of work to do. I'll enjoy this one tonight, and I'm excited to help the Titans get to 3-0."

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