JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Lost in the Patriots’ 23-16 win Sunday over the Jaguars — other than the final score, there wasn’t much to applaud from the visitors’ side — was the 11 points scored by kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who has made eight straight field goals and established a personal high for points in a season.
On a day when the Patriots’ offense sputtered, Gostkowski made all three of his field goal attempts, connecting from 25, 49, and 38 yards. He also converted both extra points, pushing his season total to 149 points, 1 more than he scored in 2008.
“I avoid stats until the end of the year, because the times I’ve been caught up in stats, it hasn’t turned out well,” Gostkowski said. “The most important stat we talk about here is wins, and we’ve got 11 wins, and that’s awesome.
“I broke that record that one year with all the extra points in a season [74 for 74 in 2007, an NFL record]. We have a good team, we have a good offense, so it’s a byproduct. You don’t make your own opportunities, you just take advantage of them.”
Gostkowski hasn’t missed a field goal since pulling a 49-yard attempt at Miami Dec. 2. Since then he’s been perfect: three makes against the Dolphins, 2 for 2 against the 49ers, and 3 for 3 on Sunday.
With 149 and one game remaining, Gostkowski has a chance to set the franchise record for points in a season. Gino Cappelletti had 155 in 1964. Gostkowski needs 7 more, and is averaging 9.9 points per game this season.
“Anything that I accomplish is because we have such a good, high-powered offense. You have opportunities, and I just need to take advantage of them,” Gostkowski said. “Points are points. I’ll look at it at the end of the year and say I could have done this, could have done that. It’s hard to compare yourself to other people on other teams, because every team is different. I just worry about what I do, how hard I’m working, and how well I’m executing.”
Wes Welker set another NFL record, becoming the first player in league history with 18 games of at least 10 receptions. He had been tied with Houston’s Andre Johnson (held to seven catches on Sunday) and Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.
Welker finished with 10 receptions for 88 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the fourth quarter. Included in Welker’s total were catches on four consecutive plays during the Patriots’ two-minute drive at the end of the first half. The gains went for 6, 8, 11, and 8 yards, setting up the Patriots at Jacksonville’s 22-yard line. The drive ended with a touchdown, which helped tie the score at 13.
“A win is a win. In the NFL, that’s hard to come by,” Welker said. “We’ll take it.”
All or nothing
Looking to punch in a late touchdown, the Jaguars were discussing two plays: one that would get them into the end zone, and a 2-point conversion that might win the game. With a 2-12 record, the Jaguars didn’t have a whole lot to lose, and coach Mike Mularkey said after the game that had they scored a touchdown when trailing, 23-16, they would have kept the offense on the field for a 2-point conversion try. Problem was, they never got the touchdown.
“We were going for the win, absolutely. They knew before the drive started,” Mularkey said. “We wanted to win the game. We didn’t want to win in overtime, we wanted to win the game.”
In addition to tight end Rob Gronkowski, linebacker Brandon Spikes, and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard — all of whom were downgraded to “out” on Saturday because of injuries and didn’t travel — the Patriots added offensive lineman Markus Zusevics, defensive linemen Jake Bequette and Ron Brace, and fullback James Develin to the inactive list. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew and cornerback Antwaun Molden, a former Patriot, were among the Jaguars’ inactives.
Chalk up another
A 14-yard completion to Danny Woodhead right before halftime ensured there would be a 47th straight regular-season game in which Brady has thrown a touchdown pass. That ties Johnny Unitas for second on the all-time NFL list. Drew Brees holds the record with 54 . . . Also extending a streak: the Patriots’ defense. Marquice Cole’s first interception of the season — he picked off Chad Henne in the third quarter — marked the 26th straight game the Patriots have forced a turnover. They added two interceptions late in the fourth quarter, both by Patrick Chung. There were no fumbles in the game, from either team . . . The Patriots gave Devin McCourty the day off on kickoff returns, sending Matthew Slater and Shane Vereen back there instead. There were four touchbacks, but Slater did return one kick, just his second of the season. It went for 20 yards . . . Brandon Lloyd had five of his six catches in the second half, finishing with 62 yards . . . Receiver Kamar Aiken, promoted from the practice squad Saturday, made his Patriots debut . . . It’s taken multiple large advertising banners strategically placed around the stadium to reduce seating capacity, but the Jaguars have a streak of 25 consecutive games that have not been blacked out locally. The Jaguars list the seating capacity for games at EverBank Field as 67,246, but the stadium can accommodate plenty more; the attendance for the annual Georgia-Florida college game on Oct. 27 was 84,644. Sunday’s crowd was announced at 70,251, giving the Jaguars their highest home attendance since Dec. 5, 2004, against Pittsburgh (76,877) . . . The Jaguars lost, but don’t blame punter Bryan Anger. He averaged 56.3 yards on four kicks, with a long of 65 yards.