With the return of Rob (Gronk) Gronkowski, the Patriots appear to have finally hit their groove. Three weeks after returning from his fifth surgery, the Patriots star tight end caught 9 passes and one touchdown to help lead his team in a 55-31 shellacking of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Gronkowski’s shredding of the Steelers’ in the first half caused them to change their defensive philosophy for the second half, only to see their adjustments exploited by other Patriot receivers. Aaron Dobson took advantage of the Gronkowski double-team shredded the Steelers’ defense for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Clearly Gronkowski didn’t have to touch the ball to have a debilitating effect on enemy defenses. When healthy, he is such an imposing force his very presence on the field has defensive coordinators scrambling for some ways to limit the damage. But, whenever they try close up the gaping holes Gronkowski alone seems to be able to uncover, other weaknesses open up. And that could spell disaster.
Gronkowski had four catches over 16 yards and, thanks to his presence, the Steelers amassed 610 total yards in the lopsided victory. It was the first time in 17 years since the Steelers had been beaten that badly at home.