FOXBOROUGH — It was a rough week for Tom Brady and that brought out some emotional remarks by Rob Gronkowski Sunday night.
“It’s great to come out here and play together as a team very well,” Gronkowski said after the Patriots 43-17 win over the Bengals. “Helped each other out. Defense, offense, clicked together on offense and it was a great game and a lot of fun.”
The big Patriots tight end admitted to being more emotional than usual on the field and admitted it was a reaction to the negativity toward the Patriots and Brady last week.
“I told my brother before I came to the game, ‘I’m gonna make 12 look like Tom Brady again, baby,'” Gronkowski said. “And I went out there with my teammates and we made Tom Brady look like Tom Brady after you guys were criticizing him all week. The fans, everything. And it feels so good and he’s such a leader and he went over 50,000 yards today. He’s an unbelievable player and I’m so glad to play with him.”
Gronkowski and Brady connected on their 45th touchdown pass and tied a Patriots record for most touchdown connections between a quarterback and a tight end on a 16-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. Drew Bledsoe and Ben Coates also connected on 45 touchdown passes. The 45 TD connections are tied for second in NFL history, behind the 65 touchdown connections between Phillip Rivers and Antonie Gates.
Brady addressed Gronkowski’s emotional praise when he took the podium after the win.
“Well, I rally around them, so – I love that guy and everything he’s done for this team and the attitude that he brings,” Brady said. “He’s a phenomenal player. He’s been through a lot. Talk about mental toughness; nobody’s got more mental toughness than him.”
Gronkowski said he heard the fans chant Brady’s name throughout the game.
“It’s great to come back strong and [Brady’s] shown that he’s still a young buck and he has a lot in his tank left,” Gronk said. “I’m proud to be playing with him and it was awesome seeing all those ‘Brady’ chants out there. It was just a good game overall with a lot of teamwork.”
Gronkowski finished with 100 yards on six receptions for his 13th career game with 100 or more receiving yards. It was the first time since Dec. 21, 2013 that Gronkowski had 100 or more receiving yards.
Gronk was asked if the Patriots wanted to make a point Sunday night after last week’s crushing loss to Kansas City.
“Yes, definitely,” he said. “We had to go out there and we had to execute. We were executing as a team very well. We were clicking on all cylinders – the running game, the passing game, the defense with the turnovers. It was a great game and we’ve got to take it, practice hard this week and get ready for the Bills for sure.”
Gronkowski stopped short of saying this was a statement game for New England.
“It’s another game. It’s a long season,” he said. “You want a victory every single week. We came out with a victory and that was our goal. That’s what happened and we’ve got to keep rolling.”