Game-changing tight ends propel Patriots

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Game-changing tight ends propel Patriots

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez combined for 261 total yards and four touchdowns in Saturday night's 45-10 playoff win over the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium.

Gronkowski was catching passes. Hernandez was doing the same, plus, rushing the football like a running back.

Needless to say, the Patriots are getting the most out of their pair of young, versatile, and athletic tight ends.

Their production is so astounding, it has Patriots veteran offensive lineman Brian Waters thinking that they've changed the offensive game in the NFL.

If you decide to take away one, that opens things up for the other," said Waters after Saturday's win. "You add the fact that we have receiving threats and some good guys at the running back position. It limits the things you can do defensively as far as trying to take one person out of the game. Thats something that we are able to take advantage of.

Ill tell you what, these two Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski are changing the game," added Waters. "I think that youre going to see tight ends get drafted that would have been fourth or fifth round picks will probably be drafted higher because of what these guys are able to do. Youre going to see other teams try to match guys with their receiving tight ends by trying to match them with a guy that can do some of the things that our tight ends can do. So I think these two are changing the game.

Bill Belichick was also asked if he's ever seen a pair of tight ends this good, and had to go back in time.

"Honestly there wasnt a lot of two-tight ends in the mid-70s, there really wasnt," said Belichick after Saturday's win. "There was one tight end in the game and occasionally teams used two tight ends in short-yardage, but thats kind of where the two tight ends and one back. And then Don Coryell and San Diego and so forth, it became a little more prevalent. But when we had Charlie Sanders and David Hill at Detroit, those two guys were pretty good.

"Rob and Aaron have both done a good job for us," said Belichick. "They complement each other well, they compete well with each other, they push each other and theyve been very productive for us. They both do a great job. Were fortunate to have them."