There wasn't much need for kicker Stephen Gostkowski in the New England Patriots' 30-7 win Friday. That didn't stop him from being bringing his A-game.
The veteran kicker was perfect in three attempts, including a 60-yarder with less than two minutes to go in the half, as Tom Brady and the Pats' offense shined against a Carolina team that stifled the squad in Week 11 last year.
After the game, even Brady -- who's been witness to some pretty significant field goals in his tenure -- was impressed with Gostkowski's performance.
"Yeah, I mean, incredible kick," he said via patriots.com. "That's a long ways away, so it gives everybody a lot of confidence that if you get the ball to whatever, the 42-yard line, you've got a chance at three points.
"Hopefully we can get him a little closer during the season and make it a little easier on Steve, but we know he's got it there in him if we need that to happen at some point this year."
For Gostkowski, the boot was an in-game best, with his previous long a 54-yarder. Hitting kicks of that distance is all about staying calm, the nine-year pro told reporters after the game, and utilizing some skills typically only found on the tee at the golf course.
"The main thing is to just try not to over-kick because your adrenaline is running and you're going to get extra distance than you would get in practice, so I just tried to think of a nice, smooth swing – kind of like what I do when I golf when I actually hit the fairway," he said. "That's what I was trying to think of, and it worked out."
Gostkowski also hit from 47 and 21 yards Friday, while Brady completed 81 percent of his passes and threw for two touchdowns in three quarters worth of work. Both of Brady's touchdown passes went to utility running back Shane Vereen, who had 57 yards receiving along with 18 yards on the ground in the win.