Although Rob Gronkowski caught the first pass of the game, he was held in check for the remainder of the Patriots’ 31-20 defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. The tight end added just one more catch, bringing his total to two receptions for 15 yards.
When asked how the Jaguars defense slowed him down, Gronkowski did not single out any unexpected coverage or individual defender, focusing instead on the group as a whole.
“They did a good job overall,” he told reporters after the game. “Just got to watch the film and see what they did. I mean, they’ve got good players. I have to play better. They did a good job. They’re a good team.”
Gronkowski’s quiet outing against Jacksonville stood in stark contrast to the season opener. Against Houston, Tom Brady found his towering target for seven catches, 123 yards, and a touchdown. Gronkowski was unable to match that production against the Jaguars — even with a week’s worth of bulletin board material from Jalen Ramsey.
Gronkowski noted the pregame trash talk did not carry over too much into the game.
“This was normal,” he said. “Nothing over the top, just normal stuff. Nothing outrageous, or anything like that.”
The 29-year-old knows the importance of starting fast in the NFL, and emphasized the importance of the Jaguars’ early lead in this one. Gronkowski and the Patriots were aware Blake Bortles and his teammates like to play from in front, but were unable to beat them out of the gates.
The Patriots, and their All-Pro tight end, will need to put the defeat behind them before traveling to meet the Detroit Lions next Sunday.
“I mean that’s the only thing we can do from here,” Gronkowski said. “We got to bounce back. We’ve done it before. We have to take away from this game, see what we did wrong, correct everything. The only thing we got to do is bounce back now. Today wasn’t good at all.”