Landover, Md. – Records? Rob Gronkowski doesn’t need no stinkin’ records.
He just wants to win.
Gronkowski set an NFL season record for most touchdown catches by a tight end today as the Patriots won their fifth straight, beating the Washington Redskins, 34-27.
He grabbed his 14th and 15th touchdown receptions, moving him past Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis. Gates had 13 in 2004 with the Chargers, and Davis matched that total in 2009 with the 49ers. Gronk finished the day with a six catches for 160 yards, most of them because of his running over, around, and through defenders after the catch.
Gronkowski was surrounded by media at his locker after the game and was peppered with questions about setting the TD mark.
“What record?” Gronk playfully asked. “It’s cool and everything, I got the ball back… It’s cool to get a record and everything, but that really don’t matter. We got the team victory, we got the ‘W’ and that’s all that matters when coming out. The defense played well at the end of the game. We got that [Jerod Mayo] interception which was huge. It can’t be any better than coming out with the victory.”
Quarterback Tom Brady spoke about his talented and record-setting tight end.
“He’s tough,” Brady said. “He’s a strong runner and always [looks] to make that catch. There were some great catches and runs that he made today and he’s obviously a huge part of this offense. It’s great to see him make plays like that today… He’s a big guy and tough to bring down. He’s a good route runner and good blocker and a smart player. Very dependable and consistent. He’s really been doing that all season.”
Gronkowski spoke about his leap into the arms of a Patriots fan in the stands following his record-settting TD catch in the first quarter.
“I don’t know, I just do things on the spot,” he said. “I never thought of that before. I just saw the guy with the New England jersey on in the first row so you gotta give him some props, give him some love because he’s got first row at an away game with a New England jersey on.”
The big play to set up the touchdown came when he rambled down the sidelines on a 49-yard completion to the Washington 11.
“Tom just made a great throw,” Gronkowski said. “The defender was right there and he put it where no one else could get it besides me and I just made the catch and the guy didn’t touch me at all so I got up and started running, just happened to spin off a couple guys and got down to the 12, so it was a good play, a big play, it was a good pass… there were no whistles or nothing so I was just running. When I don’t hear a whistle, I just keep playing.”
The popular tight end talked about the great fan support the team received at FedEx Field.
“The fans were great,” he said. “I would say at least half were New England fans so that was cool. Our fans were definitely out there supporting us. They travel well and it was great that it was all there… I would say half of the front row were New England fans, behind our bench, throughout the whole arena, so that was cool to see that.”
He was asked if it was hard not to think about the personal accomplishments.
“No it’s not hard at all,” Gronkowski said. “That’s how we roll around here. Gotta stay humble and we just keep going every game. We got a big game next week vs. Denver already and that’s all I’m thinking about already now. It’s a team game and we got the victory and that’s all that matters.”
When Brady’s large target was asked what he planned to do with the ball from record-breaking touchdown No. 14., he gave a typical Rob Gronkowski answer.
”I don’t know, spike it,” he said jokingly. “Practice my spikes.”