FOXBORO, Mass. — Two of the New England Patriots biggest offensive plays Sunday night came courtesy of their superstar tight end.
After tallying just one reception over the first three quarters, Rob Gronkowski caught passes of 42 and 39 yards from quarterback Tom Brady on the Patriots’ final two possessions to help New England to thrilling 43-40 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium.
Speaking with reporters Monday in the Patriots’ locker room, Gronkowski broke down his 39-yarder, which gave the Pats the ball at the Chiefs’ 9-yard line with less than a minute to play and set up Stephen Gostkowski’s 28-yard game-winning field goal.
“I just had a go route,” Gronkowski explained. “I just had to get around the guy (safety Josh Shaw), and Tom put it right where it needed to be. I just made the play, and it came in a clutch moment. Tom threw a really nice ball, and overall, it was just good execution by everyone.”
The catch was the 500th of Gronkowski’s Patriots career. Brady, who had completions of 42, 19, 42, 16 and 39 yards in the final quarter Sunday, said after the game he’ll “keep throwing to him in the biggest moments.”
“He’s always clutch in big moments,” Gronkowski said of his 41-year-old quarterback. “And (on) final drives like that, you’ve got to get open in order to win the game. So it just happened to be we had good execution there. Tom made a nice pass, and I just came up with the play.”
The Patriots led 24-9 at halftime but couldn’t hold it against a Chiefs team that entered the weekend with a 5-0 record and the NFL’s highest-scoring offense. Three Tyreek Hill touchdowns in the final 16 minutes allowed Kansas City to take the lead midway through the fourth, then tie the game with 3:03 to play following a Brady rushing touchdown and a Gostkowski field goal.
Gostkowski was a perfect 5-for-5 on field-goal attempts, his last coming as time expired.
“We kept fighting,” Gronkowski said. “We knew it was going to be a 60-minute game. They’re a great team. They fight hard, and it went down to the last play of the game. It went down to the final seconds. We just kept fighting and stayed strong, and we got a big W. … It was a great NFL game to be a part of.”