BOSTON (CBS) — Sunday night was a big one for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. He played a significant role in an important Patriots victory over the Chiefs, and he reached a notable career milestone along the way.
With his 39-yard catch over Josh Shaw on the Patriots’ game-winning drive, Gronkowski recorded the 500th reception of his NFL career.
It was an important catch, too, as it moved the Patriots from midfield to the Chiefs’ 9-yard line, setting up a chip shot field goal to win the game.
Gronkowski only caught three passes in the win, but he made them count, racking up 97 receiving yards.
The 29-year-old ranks fourth in Patriots history with his 500 receptions, trailing Wes Welker (672), Troy Brown (557) and Stanley Morgan (534). With just under 7,600 receiving yards, Gronkowski ranks second in franchise history, trailing only Morgan (10,352). Gronkowski is the all-time franchise leader in receiving touchdowns, with 77 — 10 more than anybody else.
In addition to hauling in the 500th pass of his career, Gronkowski also issued a vicious stiff-arm on Ron Parker in the Patriots’ penultimate drive of the evening:
Those catches only added to the deep level of trust that quarterback Tom Brady has in Gronkowski.
“The big play to Gronk, he got a matchup and made a big play,” Brady said. “He’s been making a lot of those in his career. I’ll keep throwing to him in the biggest moments.”
Gronkowski has also caught 68 passes for 972 yards and 12 touchdowns in 13 career playoff games.