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Gronkowski almost sets record as Patriots roll over Colts

Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots Getty Images

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.

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35 Responses to “Gronkowski almost sets record as Patriots roll over Colts”
  1. rushmatic says: Dec 4, 2011 4:00 PM

    At this rate, he should go down as the best TE in the history of the game.

  2. j0esixpack says: Dec 4, 2011 4:01 PM

    The Colts almost looked as if they were trying to win in this game.

    And why not?

    They’ve locked up Luck and can “afford” one win – why not try to get it against the Patriots? They can always go back to tanking it.

  3. ishallcomment says: Dec 4, 2011 4:02 PM

    why did they even bother to get out of bed and play this one?

  4. mulxedge says: Dec 4, 2011 4:03 PM

    what’s the record for TOTAL TDs by a TE?

    surely Gronk must have broken that record?

  5. Kya_Tropic_Fan says: Dec 4, 2011 4:07 PM

    I think this pretty much proves that at this level “running up the score” is nothing more than a myth, and nothing more than a lame reason for fans to bitch and moan and justify their hatred for certain teams/players/coaches.

  6. caseyanthonymunoz says: Dec 4, 2011 4:10 PM

    I thought Tebow held that record? I thought Tebow held EVERY record.

  7. shorelinemike says: Dec 4, 2011 4:11 PM

    Correction — “The win keeps the Patriots in the mix for the best record in the AFC East. “

  8. blackdb says: Dec 4, 2011 4:12 PM

    Who is Polian and Caldwell gonna blame now. I guess that there idea of immediate improvement is to fall behind 31-3 in the 4th qtr and score some late TDs to make it look better. Does not matter who the coordinator is you can’t win with that secondary. Sad to see a hall of fame GM put protecting his son over the best interest of the franchise. The colts problems have been caused by the front office but the coaches will pay for it.

  9. shorelinemike says: Dec 4, 2011 4:12 PM

    The win keeps the Patriots in the mix for the best record in the AFC East.

  10. thefam3132 says: Dec 4, 2011 4:25 PM

    So all Pats haters who want to know why Belichick stays on the gas, the final score of this game should answer that question.

  11. ingloriousmaster says: Dec 4, 2011 4:25 PM

    BEAST of the (afc) EAST

  12. canesnut says: Dec 4, 2011 4:25 PM

    I have to laugh at all you out there that continue to bash Tebow. As a lifelong Miami Hurricanes fan, I am pre-programmed to hate all Gators and Seminoles, but yet I have grown to like and root for Tebow.

    He represents the type of person that has attributes that are sorely missing in the NFL today. He is not pompous, self centered, and he certainly hasn’t spread his seed around like so many other of the “good” NFL players. Continue to bash and speak condescending of him all you would like, but the kid is a winner and continues to prove that week in & week out. I could deal with less of the religious aspect, as I have no need for such imaginative things, but he is an impressive person nonetheless.

  13. TheWizard says: Dec 4, 2011 4:25 PM

    Like most weeks, the opposition racks up a ton of garbage-time yards, so next week we can talk about the low ranking of the Patriots defense.

    Most misleading stat there is.

  14. indycolt45 says: Dec 4, 2011 4:30 PM

    Orlovsky did not make Caldwell look smart today.

    On the contrary, DanO made Catfish look like an idiot for hanging onto Painter for so long.

  15. rugdog100 says: Dec 4, 2011 4:32 PM

    Not sure 31-24 constitutes “roll over”, Josh

  16. sdiegosteel says: Dec 4, 2011 4:32 PM

    Can you our bookies that the Patriots rolled, Josh?

  17. mornelithe says: Dec 4, 2011 4:36 PM

    Pretty ridiculous 4th Quarter by the Pats today, I sincerely hope Bellichick pounds them into the ground for giving up that many yards and unanswered TD’s in garbage time. Kind of nullifies all the good work they did in the previous 3 quarters. And performances like that can’t possibly win them games in the post-season.

  18. badtimeoutcaldwell says: Dec 4, 2011 4:42 PM

    Orlovsky played pretty well, actually, and made Jim Caldwell look pretty smart for giving him the starting job in place of Curtis Painter.
    —————————–

    Under no circumstances should Caldwell be given ANY credit for what Orolvsky did. Orlovsky was on this team in the pre-season, and Caldwells judgement told him that Painter was the better QB.

    Painter is HORRIBLE… and it only took Caldwell 9 games to realize that Orlovsky gives them a better shot at winning.

    That evaluation should have been made in the pre-season, not after 6 straight horrible performances by Painter. Please don’t give Caldwell credit for being forced into an obvious move.

  19. richm2256 says: Dec 4, 2011 4:43 PM

    Thought it was comical the way Peyton Manning completely ignored Curtis Painter on the sidelaines all game.

  20. gdeli says: Dec 4, 2011 4:44 PM

    hey colts, luck is yours for the taking. ha

  21. cmgww says: Dec 4, 2011 4:45 PM

    I wouldn’t call it getting “rolled over”…Had the Colts gotten a TD on 3rd and 1 instead of a false start, the game would have been tied. And Belichick WAS trying to run it up, throwing the ball up 31-10….that allowed the Colts time to get back into it, he could’ve chewed up a lot of clock but instead went 3 and out on 3 straight passes. Had it not been for Carter’s fumble and Orlovsky’s INT, this would have been a game. Don’t call this “garbage time” points, b/c the Colts recover that onside kick, the way they were moving the ball, who knows? “Roll over” is hardly a term I would use to describe this game. You are all just pissed the Colts didn’t get blown out 55-3 like everyone predicted

  22. wpq3 says: Dec 4, 2011 4:47 PM

    I don’t understand why a lateral doesn’t count as a TD pass. If it’s intercepted, does it not count as an interception? Never really cared about the rule until now. Obvious Pats fan here, LOL.

  23. stoney18 says: Dec 4, 2011 4:52 PM

    “Prevent” defense usually prevents you from winning. Plus no first downs on Hoyer’s watch. Good thing Tommy kept his foot on the gas when Pats had the ball. And, it is also a good thing that there are no style points in the NFL. Any kind of Win = W!!

  24. 8man says: Dec 4, 2011 5:26 PM

    It was 31-3. WTF?

    That defense and Brady looked lame in the 4th. Just bring in Hoyer next time.

  25. dienavinjohnson says: Dec 4, 2011 7:22 PM

    @mornelithe

    The Patriots will win plenty of games in the post season if they enter the 4th quarter winning 31-3. Think before you post.

  26. thisisjohngalt says: Dec 4, 2011 7:48 PM

    @wpq3,

    A lateral is a live ball, so no, it cannot be “intercepted”, and there can be no “interception” on the play. An interception can only occur on a forward pass. In the event a defender might have stepped in front and caught the ball, he may advance the ball, and would be credited with a fumble recovery and recovery yardage. An example we’re all familiar with is a pitch to a running back. That’s a lateral. If he fails to catch it, it’s a fumble and can be recovered and advanced by either team.

    To put it another way, if Brady pitches the ball back to Woodhead on an off-tackle pitch play, would you credit Woodhead with a pass reception? If he dropped the pitch, would it be an incomplete pass? If some super-fast defender managed to get between Brady and Woodhead and catch the ball before Woodhead could, would you credit that defender with an interception? No, of course you wouldn’t. The throw to Gronkowski is EXACTLY the same thing. A lateral, and a running play. The ball left Brady’s hand at the 7 yard line, and its flight was a straight line from Brady’s hand at the 7 to Gronkowski’s two hands at the 8. Very clear in the replay that it traveled backward one yard from the 7 yard line to the 8 yard line, where it was caught by Gronkowski and advanced — as a rush — into the end zone.

  27. rushmatic says: Dec 4, 2011 8:38 PM

    rugdog100 says:
    Not sure 31-24 constitutes “roll over”, Josh

    ______________

    I’m not sure how long it was 31-3, but it seemed like forever. With the exception of the last few minutes of the 4th quarter, the Colts got “rolled over”.

    Thx for playing, though.

  28. cmgww says: Dec 4, 2011 10:03 PM

    @rushmatic: Last year the Colts trailed pretty big late in the 3rd, only for Manning to bring them storming back (with a bunch of 3rd string skill players btw), losing by 3 points late on an INT where Manning’s pass was forced high by a Pats defender. What was the headline after that game?? Losing by 7 with a chance to get the ball back and tie it (which was not impossible the way the Pats D was playing) is hardly getting “rolled over”, despite what you might think. This wasn’t “garbage time”….the Colts drove 86, 93 and 90 yards to get back into the game. That’s not “garbage points” pal, that’s a team not giving up and the opponent getting lazy b/c of a big lead

  29. mornelithe says: Dec 4, 2011 10:36 PM

    @ Dienavinjohnson: Considering they gave up 3 unanswered TD’s to the Orlovsky led Colts in that timeframe, I think you’re making statements you can’t back up with reality, a better team could very well have done more damage in the 4th, or…not given up the interception and been ahead.

  30. patsfiend says: Dec 5, 2011 12:52 AM

    I’m pretty sure we are going to see a few more games like this one, before it’s playoff time. I’ll take the W, and hope we have more big leads to work out the kinks in the D. Hopefully someone will play the Rodney Harrison patented “no one respected us” card come playoff time. Looking forward to it.

    Also, the crowd standing and cheering when Ocho caught a 9 yard pass today was priceless. If he catches a TD one of these weeks, I think I might stand up and cheer. Somehow, I’m rooting for the guy, now.

  31. gimmeabruschi says: Dec 5, 2011 2:22 AM

    Why are you Colts fans here defending your garbage team like you had a chance? Just lose out your string, draft Luck and ditch Manning. Then you can come back and talk smack with the grown ups when you have a real team again.

  32. wpq3 says: Dec 5, 2011 3:17 AM

    @thisisjohngalt

    Thank you for the explanation. The second paragraph was a bit long winded, were you trying to make me feel like a 2yr old? LOL. Either way, I do appreciate your knowledge of the rule book.

  33. rahavort says: Dec 5, 2011 8:47 AM

    Lol “almost” break the record? There’s still games of this season to be played and I guarantee you Gronk is going to get at LEAST one more touchdown

  34. bozosforall says: Dec 5, 2011 1:23 PM

    Poor Gaykowski…scores TDs but can’t score with a porn star.

  35. rushmatic says: Dec 6, 2011 2:35 PM

    bozosforall says:
    Poor Gaykowski…scores TDs but can’t score with a porn star.

    _______________

    Bibi Jones is Bozo’s mom, obviously. I’d be angry too.

    Get off my mama!

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