FOXBORO, Mass. — It’s now safe to declare Rob Gronkowski 100 percent healthy.
Gronkowski was an absolute offensive force for the New England Patriots on Sunday, catching nine passes for a team-high 105 yards and one touchdown in a 43-21 win over the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium.
Between that performance and his similarly dominant showing in last week’s rout of the Chicago Bears, the tight end has hauled in 18 passes for 254 yards and four scores in the last two games.
That kind of production from Tom Brady’s No. 1 weapon has made the Patriots’ offense seemingly unstoppable. New England has racked up an NFL-best 94 points over the past two weeks and heads into its bye week with all the momentum in the world.
And, of course, Gronkowski is enjoying himself in the process.
“He’s like a little kid, and he makes the game exciting,” Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman said. “He goes out and he makes one-handed catches, and he goes out there and he looks like he’s playing against his little brother sometimes. He’s a beast.”
The one-handed catch Edelman was referring to involved Gronkowski reaching back through traffic and snatching a Brady bullet with his left hand — arm brace and all.
“Incredible,” Brady called it. “One of the best catches I’ve ever seen.”
“I looked, and I was like ‘Holy Toledo. That’s a killer catch. Hopefully that’s a touchdown,'” added Edelman, who finished the game with two scores of his own. “That’s the instant thing I thought.”
It was not quite a touchdown — the referees ruled Gronkowski down just shy of the goal line — but it took the Patriots only one additional play to punch it in the end zone. Fittingly, Brady found his big tight end again for the score.
Gronkowski was a bit more measured than his teammates in his self-evaluation, choosing to describe his highlight-reel grab as simply “a pretty good catch.”
“Tom put it where I could make that play, so it just happened,” he said. “It’s just a reaction — going to the ball, when you see the ball, you want to go for it, so it’s just a natural reaction to go get it. It ended up being one-handed, so it was pretty cool.”
Gronkowski also declined to assign a grade to the catch, saying that was a job for reporters.
“It was a good catch, but you guys can do the rating of it,” he said. “(I’m) just trying to make plays and make as many as possible when my number is called.”
OK, Rob. We give it a 10.
Photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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