When it comes to playing kicker in the NFL, no one has ever had bigger shoes to fill than Stephen Gostkowski. Succeeding the greatest clutch kicker in the history of the game – Adam Vinatieri – is as tough a job as there is. Gostkowski, though, fared admirably and the Patriots' kicking game has not missed a beat since he joined the team in 2006.
2015 is no different as the now 31-year old plays arguably his best season to date.
Gostkowski, who was voted the AFC's Special Teams Player of the Week after scoring three field goals and three extra points against the New York Jets in week 7, has been perfect so far. 19 times have the Patriots needed him to kick field goals, 19 times he split the uprights. Among those kicks were three from 50+ yards, among them a new personal best from 57 yards out (against the Dallas Cowboys).
His 19 field goals can be broken down as follows:
6 from 20-29 yards out
4 from 30-39 yards out
6 from 40-49 yards out
3 from 50+ yards out
The average 2015 Stephen Gostkowski field goal travels a distance of 37.2 yards.
Not only his field goal game has been perfect, Gostkowski has also made all of his 31 extra point attempts. Considering that the point after has been moved back to the 15-yard line prior to the season (making it a 33-yard attempt), his accuracy has been nothing short of impressive.
To put Gostkowski's kicking numbers into perspective, here is a list of categories he leads the league in:
Points scored (88)
Field goals made (19, tied with four others)
Field goal percentage (100%, tied with four others)
Extra points made (31)
Extra point percentage (100%, tied with 12 others)
Overall kicks attempted (50)
Overall kicks made (50)
Overall kicking percentage (100%, tied with Dallas' Dan Bailey)
Scoring points and accurately kicking are not the only two strengths of Gostkowski's game. He also is one of the best in the league when it comes to kickoffs. Overall, Gostkowski has kicked the ball off 57 times. Of those 57 attempts only 15 (26.3%) were returned. His 42 touchbacks – what else – lead the league.
His only onside kick has also been successful and recovered by New England.
All in all, Stephen Gostkowski has had a great first half of his 2015 season. Hopefully, his second half will also be successful and he will continue to make the kicks whenever the Patriots need him to make them.