Tom Brady wasn’t sure if the Meadowlands crowd was applauding a touchdown or an interception.
The Patriots quarterback was laying on his back after getting flattened by the New York Jets pass rush. When he raised his head, he realized the ball he’d lofted between a middle linebacker and cornerback landed safely in Rob Gronkowski’s hands for a touchdown.
“I was so happy Gronk made it,” Brady told reporters after New England’s 27-13 win over the Jets on Sunday. “What a great play for him, and he’s a great player for us.”
Brady noted Gronkowski, who returned to the field after battling ankle and back injuries, is “probably the only tight end in the league that can make that play.”
The superb catch was one of a handful of big yardage plays for the Patriots. Early in the game, Brady had four completions — for 113 yards and a touchdown. He emphasized the importance of converting third downs and finishing red zone drives with seven points.
Although the Patriots offense wasn’t perfect in MetLife Stadium, the return of one of his favorite targets led to a marked improvement for Brady. The 41-year-old finished the game 24 for 31, piling up two touchdowns, 283 yards, and a 115.4 quarterback rating.
Brady sat out Friday’s practice with a knee injury and an illness. During the game, he was spotted getting treatment on his hand. However, the quarterback said the hand was “just a little scrape,” adding he intends to “get back at it right now and try to feel as good as I can for next week.”
The Patriots face the Minnesota Vikings next Sunday at 4:25 p.m. in Foxborough.