FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Shayne Graham kept his bags in his car in case an NFL team wanted him. He can unpack now.

Graham joined the New England Patriots, whose kickers had shown exceptional durability until Sunday.

He replaced Stephen Gostkowski, who was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with a thigh injury, shelving him for the rest of the season. But Graham, a former Cincinnati Bengals kicker, knows he has to produce.

“I’ll still treat it as a game-by-game basis,” Graham said. “I’ve got to perform well each week and give them a reason to want to keep me around here.”

New England hasn’t worried much about its kicking game over the last 14 seasons. Adam Vinatieri played every game from 1996 to 2005 and made two Super Bowl-winning field goals. Gostkowski played every game the past four years and the first half of this season.

Only two other players have attempted extra points over that stretch. There was Doug Flutie’s drop kick in a 28-26 loss to Miami in the 2005 season finale, the first drop kick in the NFL in 64 years, and Wes Welker subbing for Gostkowski in Sunday’s 34-14 loss to Cleveland.

While warming up before that game, Gostkowski felt tightness in his right thigh. He kicked an extra point after a second-quarter touchdown and the ensuing kickoff, but that was it.

“That’s a bummer,” quarterback Tom Brady said Wednesday. “He’s been a hell of a player here and a great kicker. We’ve had a few guys put on IR this year that are really great, dependable players that have worked hard — Kevin (Faulk) and Ty Warren. He will be missed.”

New England also signed long snapper Matt Katula to replace Jake Ingram, who was released, and added cornerback Thad Turner to the practice squad.

The Patriots used an unusually high pick for a kicker, a fourth-rounder, when they drafted Gostkowski out of Memphis in 2006 after letting Vinatieri leave as a free agent for Indianapolis. Since then, Gostkowski has made 84.3 percent of his field-goal attempts and missed one of 231 extra-point tries. This season he made 10 of 13 field-goal tries and all 26 extra points.

Graham’s field-goal accuracy is even better, 85.2 percent. That’s the fifth-best in league history, and he’s missed just 3 of 283 extra points in one year with Buffalo, one with Carolina and seven with Cincinnati. He also missed only 4 of 71 field-goal tries from inside the 30 in regular-season games.

But he failed on both his attempts in last season’s 24-14 playoff loss to the New York Jets, from 28 and 35 yards, and left Cincinnati as a free agent.

“There’s always going to be speed bumps and you can control what you can control,” Graham said. “My job is to play and I don’t make the decisions as far as rosters.”

He signed with the Ravens but was beaten out by Billy Cundiff and released Sept. 4. He then played one game with the New York Giants, signing Oct. 16 after Lawrence Tynes sprained his left ankle in practice. Graham made four extra points but didn’t try a field goal in a 28-20 victory against Detroit and was released the next day.

While jobless, he practiced kicking at his college, Virginia Tech, and on soccer fields at another nearby college.

“Really kicked anywhere,” Graham said. “I would have two or three bags of footballs and have one to pull out whenever I was ready to go. Kept one in the car.

“In fact, when I played for the Giants I was called on a Friday evening and flew there and played on Sunday. So I kept bags in my car ready for an overnight and I kept a bag for a long-term trip, too.”

His visit may be longer than he thought when the Patriots, who worked him out last month, summoned him Monday before Gostkowski’s season ended.

“I have a lot of respect for him and he’s been really good to me,” Graham said. “So I know when his time’s up and he’s healthy he’ll be the guy and I’ll be looking to make the best of my opportunities.”