It was almost a record setting day for Rob Gronkowski.
The Patriots tight end appeared to break a tie with Vernon Davis and Antonio Gates for sole possession of the NFL record for most touchdowns caught by a tight end in a single season when he scored for the third time in the third quarter of Sunday’s 31-24 win over the Colts. Upon further review, though, the score was merely his 14th overall touchdown of the year because it was ruled a lateral, rather than a forward pass, from Tom Brady.
That means Gronkowski still needs one more score for the record and it means Brady is still tied with Warren Moon for sixth place on the touchdown pass list with 291 in his career. It might not seem like all that big a deal for either player. Given the way this season is playing out, it will just be a matter of time before they get their own space in the record books.
It seems mentioning because it was just about the only thing that went wrong for the Pats on Sunday. Sure, the start was a bit slow and the defense seemed to go to sleep after Gronk put them up 31-3 in the third quarter but the score wasn’t nearly as close as the final would have you believe. The only explanation for the three Colts touchdowns in the fourth quarter is that Bill Belichick wanted to be proven right for his heartfelt defense of the level of competition provided by the Colts and loosened the reins.
Orlovsky played pretty well, actually, and made Jim Caldwell look pretty smart for giving him the starting job in place of Curtis Painter. He threw for 280 yards in the second half with the team in total comeback mode, but had some good moments before the Pats scored 28 straight points in the second and third quarters. There was a modicum of suspense thanks to those touchdowns, but the Colts couldn’t convert a pair of onside kicks in the fourth.
The win keeps the Patriots in the mix for the best record in the AFC. The only team left on their schedule that doesn’t currently have a losing record is Denver, so they should remain a contender for home field right up to the end of the season.
As for the Colts, well, you already know what they are getting as a prize for their performance this season.