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BOSTON (CBS) – New England’s Rob Gronkowski cannot be stopped.
With two more touchdowns in Monday night’s 34-3 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, the Patriots second-year tight end now has 10 touchdowns on the season, and 20 in his first 26 career games. He became the fastest tight end to reach the 20-touchdown mark in NFL history.
“It’s still pretty crazy, it’s still a dream come true to be in the NFL,” the 22-year-old said after the game, fresh off finding out he made some NFL history.
Mike Ditka held the previous record with 20 touchdowns in 31 games played.
Gronkowski had a 52-yard catch and run for a touchdown in the first half, the longest reception of his career, giving the Patriots a 7-3 lead in the second quarter. It was a play that both quarterback and tight end agree was nearly perfectly executed.
“We had a play action and they were blitzing off my left side. Rob slipped behind them, I just tried to step up in the pocket and buy a little time. I found Rob and he did the rest,” Tom Brady said of their first touchdown of the game. “He’s tough to bring down; he runs hard. They had a chance to tackle him about the eight, nine yard line but he broke a tackle and walked in. It was a big score for our team.”
“It was a great play overall; they bit on the fake well,” said Gronkowski. “The whole line did a great job on that play. Tom saw me and made the nice throw. They bit so well it just so happened to be wide open and I happened to get the touchdown. It was cool.”
His second touchdown was not as easy. While it was a lot less running, only 19-yards, it required more athleticism to put six on the board. Gronkowski had to lung into the end zone, somersaulting through the air, and landed awkwardly on his neck. While he appeared a little wobbly as he got up, there was a collective sigh of relief as Gronkowski proceeded with one of his now-patented spikes.
While he was getting up, Gronkowski was not so sure he would be able to execute the spike as well as he did last week against the Jets.
“I wasn’t really thinking of it until right when I did it. It’s just what it is what it is,” Gronk said with a chuckle.
Rob Gronkowski Postgame
He said the tumble just knocked the wind out of him, but with the hard fall came a slew of questions from the trainers on the sideline, something Gronkowski had fun with.
“They kept asking me, and I started throwing out my own math problems. I was like, ‘dude I can count to 10.’ I started counting to 10. It was pretty easy though, so they kept letting me play.”
“He doesn’t come across as a math major, but he can handle his own,” joked Brady.
“He’s a young guy, he’s tough,” offensive lineman Brian Waters said after the win. “If that had been me, my career would be over. But he’s a great football player so it doesn’t surprise me that he’s able to bounce up.”
Gronkowski makes sure to get the most out of every reception, averaging 13-yards per reception this season.
“When I get the ball, you just don’t want to go down. You try to do something with it like everyone else does, like a running back does,” he said. “You have to try to do something with the ball, that’s why you get it. It just so happened those were big plays, I was wide open and everyone else is doing a good job that got me open.”
Stats: Pats-Chiefs Box Score
That’s something that makes his quarterback’s life easier, and he appreciates it.
“He catches the ball great, he’s tough, he runs well, he blocks; he really does everything you ask a tight end to do,” said Brady. “He’s dangerous out there.”
Gronkowski now has 56 receptions on the season for 805 yards.