There was plenty to like in New England's 30-7 victory over the Panthers Friday night. Tom Brady looked like, well, Tom Brady, tossing two touchdowns, the defense didn't allow a point for 58 minutes, and kicker Stephen Gostkowski striped a 60-yard field goal as the Pats cruised in their penultimate preseason game.
Gostkowski's kick came at the end of the second half and had it come during the regular season it would have been a team record. The current mark is 57 yards, courtesy of Adam Vinatieri back in 2002 in a game against the Bears.
"The thing about trying a long field goal like that is there are no expectations. You go out there and it's really a win-win situation. Nobody expects you to make it, so it really puts your mind at ease," Gostkowski said, via ESPN.com.
"We hit a pretty good kick, and we got out there a little late, the play clock was running down, so I didn't really get to aim. I just kind of kicked it, and luckily the wind blew it enough to the left, a nice little draw, and it just fell in there."
Gostkowski's regular-season record is 54 yards, which came on Oct. 13, 2013. But the 60-yarder he converted Friday wasn't lost on his teammates, even if it's not officially a record.
"Incredible kick," quarterback Tom Brady said. "That's a long ways away, so it gives everybody a lot of confidence that if you get the ball to the 42-yard line, you've got a chance at three points."
Gostkowski's kick capped off a near-perfect two-minute offense. The Pats began the drive with 1:47 left in the half and the ball on their own 9-yard line.
"I think it really visually now gives our offense as clear of a picture as they could possibly have of where we need to get to, how much a couple extra yards means in that situation," coach Bill Belichick said. "Hopefully we can make those kicks when [we] get in the regular season."
Brady added: ''The days are winding down until these games count, so it gets pretty exciting here in a few weeks but you've still got to try to use these days to make as many improvements as we can.''