FOXBOROUGH — To say Rob Gronkowski is having a big day would be an understatement.
The Patriots big tight end has matched a career-high with 9 receptions for 149 yards and three touchdowns on the day. It’s the 14th time in his career that Gronk has over 100 yards receiving, and second time this season. It’s also the second three touchdown game of his career, the last time was in 2010.
When Brady — who has five touchdown passes on the day — hit Gronkowski for their first TD of the game — on a 6-yard pass in the first quarter — the pair made history, connecting on 46 touchdown passes, a new franchise record passing Drew Bledsoe-Ben Coates.
Since Gronkowski entered the NFL in 2010, no passer-receiver duo has more touchdowns than Brady and Gronk with 48. The Saints Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham are second with 44.
Gronk and Brady currently rank No. 2 in touchdown connections between a quarterback and tight end with 48. San Diego’s Philip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates hold the record with 69.
Gronkowski now has 50 career touchdowns (49 receiving, one rushing), which ties him with Randy Moss and Coates for second most in Patriots history. Stanley Morgan is the all-time Patriots leader with 68 touchdown receptions.
Brady and Gronkowski are now tied for 20th in touchdowns among any passer-receiver duo. They are one behind Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin (49) of the Cowboys and Terry Bradshaw and Lynn Swan (49) of the Steelers.
Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison remain the all-time combo leaders with 112 touchdowns from 1998-2008 when the duo played together with the Colts.
Gronkowski left the game in the third quarter with dehydration and did not return as the Patriots blew out the Bears 51-23.