In the 20-18 playoff loss to the Denver Broncos on Jan. 24, Gostkowski missed a first-quarter point-after on New England's first score. It was the first time he had missed a conversion kick since his rookie season in 2006, and came in the first season the NFL instituted a longer 33-yard PAT to not make them so automatic.
The missed PAT proved pivotal and changed the complexion of the game as the Patriots failed on a tying two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown with 12 seconds remaining on a 4-yard pass from quarterback Tom Brady to tight end Rob Gronkowski.
"I've always been hard on myself whenever I have a bad game, especially when we lose," Gostkowski told ESPN Boston. "But I've never once hung my head down. You have to have a short memory in this game, but I'm always hard on myself for a couple days, even when we win and I have a miskick. It's a perfectionist's job -- you strive for perfection.
"I expect to make every kick, and when I don't, it's very frustrating. I probably practice tens of thousands of kicks for every one I've tried in a game, and when it doesn't go your way, it can be hard to deal with. But I've always been good at getting over things and not sulking and letting it mount into one bad kick after the next. I came back and made my next two kicks in the game."
Gostkowski took full responsibility for the loss immediately after the game, though his teammates had plenty of other mistakes and miss opportunities on the day.
"I just think the way the game ended, at the end of the game, it kind of hit me, and you only have 10 minutes to think about what to say (to the media)," Gostkowski told ESPN. "I'm the kind of person that would rather take more accountability than none at all. That's just the way I was raised. When things don't go your way, you can either sulk, make excuses or take accountability, and that's how I feel I represent myself, my family and teammates in a positive way, even when things don't go my way.
"That's what I thought about in those 10 little minutes. It hurt because I care and I want to win. But I don't hold my head low. I work hard, I've done a good job, and things don't always go your way. I'm not going to make excuses. I just felt really bad that the season came to an end."
Gostkowski, 32, signed a four-year deal worth $17.2 million last offseason, taking him through the 2018 season.