The good news is that Aaron Hernandez, who has been hobbled by an ankle injury since the second game of the season, appears to be as healthy as he has been all year. The sharp cut he had on his 40-yard reception Sunday was vintage Hernandez.
Much of the burden of replacing Gronk’s production will fall to his fellow tight end.
“It’s hard to replace a player like him because he’s a freak of nature,” said Hernandez, after Sunday’s win. “Everyone has to step up, and everyone has to keep making plays so we can keep it rolling.”
This is also why the Patriots went out in the offseason and signed wide receiver Brandon Lloyd. Sunday is a great opportunity for Lloyd to earn his Patriots wings, once and for all.
The Patriots have to move on without Gronk.
But like his broken forearm, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to hurt.