After last week’s loss to the Eagles the Patriots were in need of a spark to get their offense headed back in the right direction and they got just that Sunday night, with tight end Rob Gronkowski returning to the line-up after missing last week’s game with an injury.
It didn’t take long for him to get things going, with quarterback Tom Brady hitting him on a 45-yard gain on the first play of their second possession. On the play Brady was flushed out of the pocket and rolled right, and then threw back across the grain to the veteran tight end, who was wide open. Brady said the plan was to try and get the ball to him thanks to a mismatch and despite the rush he had a feeling he’d be open.
“We were trying to get him back there so when I rolled right, probably further than normal, I don’t know what happened on the play but I kind of got flushed, I knew where he was heading,” Brady explained after the game. “He had a linebacker on him so I thought I’d give him a chance and usually he comes down with those. So that was a great play.”
It ended up being a big one too after Brady finished the drive with a two yard touchdown pass to Keshawn Martin that gave New England a 7-0 lead and really got things started. The offense overall ran much more smoothly and Gronkowski later added a 1-yard touchdown reception of his own with 0:19 to go in the half that put the Patriots up 17-6. Brady admitted after the game it was great to have him back.
“He’s a huge influence on what we do offensively and he really toughed it out, so I’m proud of him,” said Brady. “Had a big touchdown catch. He’s obviously a big part of what we do and it was great to have him out there.”
Brady finished the night a perfect 4-of-4 targeting him for 87 yards and his touchdown. You could clearly see he felt more confident throwing the football and Gronkowski’s presence on the field opened up opportunities for other players, with Danny Amendola (6 catches, 46 yards), Brandon LaFell (5 catches, 32 yards), James White (4 catches, 38 yards) and Keshawn Martin (3 rceptions, 23 yards and a touchdown) each having productive outings.
At the end of the day Brady admitted there’s no other player that he trusts more and it was obviously great to have him back.
“Offensive football is always trust and anticipation, and certainly there’s nobody that I trust more than Gronk. He’s just a great player, he’s a great teammate, blocking, pass protecting, obviously in the passing game, short, intermediate, deep, takes advantage of good match-ups so, he’s a great player.”
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary