FOXBORO, Mass. — It's only fitting that after one of the most impressive regular seasons a tight end has ever had in the NFL, Rob Gronkowski went out and put together one of the best playoff performances that anyone who's ever played his position has had.
Gronkowski tied an NFL record with three touchdown receptions in the Patriots' 45-10 thumping of the Denver Broncos. While he became the 17th player to reach that mark, he became just the second tight end to haul in three touchdowns in a postseason game, joining Dave Casper of Oakland.
The 22-year-old also made unofficial history, as his first touchdown made quite the impression on Tom Brady, who's thrown a few touchdowns over the years.
"That catch that Gronk made for a touchdown in the corner was one of the best catches I've ever seen," Brady said.
Gronkowski wasn't alone in the record books, either. Brady tied an NFL postseason record with six touchdowns, and Deion Branch passed Troy Brown as the franchise leader in playoff receiving yards. While Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez didn't break any records, they each had a touchdown and made huge impacts on the game.
Though Gronkowski was the one who ended up in the end zone more than anyone else, he was just as blown away as everyone else watching the game.
"At the end of the game, I was like, 'This is crazy,'" Gronkowski, who finished the night with 10 catches for 145 yards, said. "It's definitely like a dream come true, playing in these games, watching Tom Brady, Deion Branch, Wes Welker growing up and everything, and now being able to be a part of a team with them and everything. It's awesome."