It wasn’t just the four passes he caught, or the touchdown. And he certainly didn’t play every snap in his first game back from a knee injury.
But make no mistake, the return of Rob Gronkowski was evident last night in the Patriots’ 27-6 win over the Texans.
“He’s one of the focal points of our offense,” Danny Amendola said, via Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. “He’s a great football player. He adds a lot. Having him out there, he creates such a mismatch on linebackers. We’re just happy to have him back.”
For a guy who was writing on the snowy Denver turf in pain two weeks prior, it was quite a comeback, and just in time, since it helped end a two-week losing streak that coincided with him going down. And while the injury wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked, he clearly wanted to get back in a hurry.
“There was urgency, and there wasn’t urgency. The urgency was I wanted to be out there back with my teammates, be back out there back playing football,” Gronkowski said. “When you miss a game, it’s hard to watch. You just want to be out there playing football, making plays. At the same time, you want to be smart about it, which we were. The organization, myself, (we) just rehabbed really hard. Everything checked out, everything felt good, so I was good to go.”
But his impact was felt in more than just his receiving stats, as his role as a blocker helped a run game that was without yet another back, and helped take the pressure off a receiving corps that could include just about anyone from week to week.
“There’s no one I trust more than Gronk,” quarterback Tom Brady said. “He’s a great player . . . blocking, pass protecting . .. he takes advantage of his matchups. He’s just a great player.”
And now that he’s back, the Patriots might be a great team again.