The original storyline surrounding Rob Gronkowski heading into the game against the Bills (whether or not Bills defenders would retaliate) fizzled pretty early. Despite ominous comments from “tough guy” Richie Incognito leading up to Sunday’s game, nothing came of it. Credit the Bills and rookie, Tre’Davious White. White put out the fire earlier in the week. A noble move from a guy who was on the wrong end of a dirty hit from Gronkowski.
Instead of that ugly story coming to fruition, the same old story played out. Gronkowski dominated the Bills. Throughout his career, Gronkowski has amassed more yards, touchdowns, and receptions against the Bills than any other opponent.
“Sorry to them for that,” said Gronkowski after the game. “But, I mean, I don’t know. It’s cool when you’re hometown team passes on you twice in that draft, and you kind of remember it still. So, no lie. I remember it every single time I play them.”
Gronkowski was born in Amherst, NY, a mere 20 minutes outside of Buffalo. He attended Williamsville High School just down the road where he was a three-sport phenom. After attending Arizona State, Gronkowski fell to the second round as back issues followed him as he left college.
On Sunday, Gronkowski hauled in five passes for 67 yards and a highlight-reel touchdown grab on the boundaries of the end zone.
“I think it was a run,” Gronk said on the call leading to the touchdown. “Tom alerted it. I think he saw man coverage, he alerted it, and the alert was me on a go and just made a play. He put the ball up there where I can only go get it, and I would say it started off in practice the last couple weeks.”
Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, gave Gronk a little more credit than he gave himself. Brady, doing a bit of self-scouting at the podium, admitted the ball wasn’t where he wanted it to be.
“It was a great catch,” Brady said after the win. “He made just a spectacular – I was trying to give him a chance – it was man coverage. I was trying to give him a back shoulder. It was probably a foot further back than I wanted to. He’s just an incredible player. He made the catch and got his feet in; it was a huge play in the game.”
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Including the game a few weeks ago, Gronkowski has caught 14 passes for 214 yards and one touchdown in two wins against the Bills this season. For his career against the Bills (13 games), he has 66 receptions for 1,027 and 12 touchdowns. He averages 5.1 catches and 79 yards per game against Buffalo.
After missing the Super Bowl run a year ago, Gronkowski has looked healthier than he has ever been. He is regularly dominating opponents and defenses don’t have much of an answer. The timing couldn’t be better as the Patriots are gearing up for yet another playoff run. A run many believe will end, one way or another, in Minnesota.