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FOXBOROUGH — The news was not all good on the Patriots front Sunday. Tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered a broken left forearm in the 59-24 victory over the Colts, according to an NFL source.
Gronkowski didn’t speak to reporters after the game, and wasn’t seen in the locker room. He left the game following Stevan Ridley’s 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter — he was also in for the extra point — with no obvious signs of injury.
Gronkowski continues to work his way into the team and league record books.
He caught seven passes (he was targeted seven times) for 137 yards and two touchdowns, his third 100-yard game of the season and ninth of his career. His nine 100-yard games ties Ben Coates’s Patriots record for a tight end.
Gronkowski caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady on the Patriots’ opening drive, then added a second score in the third quarter, a 24-yarder following a Colts turnover.
Gronkowski’s second touchdown of the game made him the first tight end in NFL history with at least 10 touchdowns in three straight seasons.
Different sport, but Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich is getting pretty good at completing the 3-point play.
For the second time this season, Ninkovich recorded a rare trifecta on the same play — sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery — when he recorded a 5-yard strip sack on Andrew Luck with 3:24 left in the third quarter.
Ninkovich overpowered left tackle Anthony Castonzo — a second-year pro from Boston College — and tipped the ball away from Luck, then pounced on it.
“All game I was trying to make [Luck] uncomfortable, get in his face, and that one I was able to give him a little bull-rush, and then grab his arm, pull his arm up and get underneath him around the corner,” Ninkovich said.
“I didn’t really see the ball until it was like at my feet. I didn’t know if he threw it or what, I knew I hit him but I didn’t know where the ball was.
“A little luck right there. That one I just fell down and saw the ball and said, ‘Hey, I’ll grab it.’ ”
It was Ninkovich’s fifth forced fumble of the season, which leads the team and matches the season franchise record, set in 2007 by former linebacker Mike Vrabel.
The first time Ninkovich recorded the triple play this season was in a 29-26 overtime victory against the Jets, when he sacked Mark Sanchez and recovered the fumble that ended the game.
Chung still on shelf
Safety Patrick Chung, despite practicing all week, spent his fourth straight game on the inactive list, and quickly deleted a pregame Twitter post that might have reflected his disappointment at not playing.
Chung has been bothered by hamstring and shoulder injuries but has participated in every practice since missing one Oct. 26, when the team arrived in London to play the Rams.
Yet he has been ruled inactive by the team every Sunday since playing Oct. 14 at Seattle.
Chung is in the final year of the four-year deal he signed as a rookie in 2009, when the Patriots drafted him with a second-round pick.
Prior to the team’s inactive list being issued, Chung’s Twitter account had a post that said, “Gotta love business.” It was deleted not long after. Chung was not spotted in the locker room after the game.
Guards sit out
As expected, the Patriots were also without left guard Logan Mankins, who left last Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and didn’t practice all week. The other starting guard, Dan Connolly, also was on the inactive list with a back injury. Mankins and Connolly were replaced in the starting lineup by Donald Thomas and Nick McDonald.
A pair of tight ends — Aaron Hernandez and Daniel Fells — were also inactive. Hernandez (ankle) has missed three straight games. A pair of defensive linemen — Jake Bequette and Justin Francis — were healthy scratches.
Linebacker Tracy White, defensive end Trevor Scott, and defensive tackle Ron Brace returned from injuries. White had missed four straight games with a foot injury, while Scott (hamstring) sat for two straight and Brace (elbow) for one.
When Adam Vinatieri came on the field to kick the extra point after the Colts’ opening-series touchdown, a good number of boos could be heard from the crowd. It happened every time Vinatieri came on the field, an unexpectedly rude welcome for the Patriots’ all-time scoring leader. Vinatieri scored 1,158 points during his Patriots career (1996-2005).
He heard them, too.
“The same ones that were booing were saying at the end, ‘Oh, we still love you, man.’ So it’s all good,” Vinatieri said. “It’s gamesmanship, or whatever you want to call it. I understand the deal. That’s homefield advantage. That’s what you’re supposed to do. Get loud and get rowdy and make it hard on the other team.”Continued...