Gronkowski held in check in win over Dolphins

Gronkowski held in check in win over Dolphins
October 27, 2013, 6:30 pm

FOXBORO -- One week after Rob Gronkowski was targeted 17 times in a loss to the Jets, Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium started as if it would be much of the same.

Tom Brady, on his first pass of the game, and only New England's second play from scrimmage, forced a throw to Rob Gronkowski on the right side that was picked off by Miami cornerback Dimitri Patterson at the Patriots' 42-yard line.

But Gronkowski was targeted just five times in Sunday's 27-17 win over the Miami Dolphins. He made only two receptions for 27 yards. And he didn't make much of an impact in the game until the second half.

Then again, the same could be said for the entire Patriots offense, which had only 25 yards through the air at halftime.

"We started clicking as an offense," said Gronkowski after the win. "Which, in the first half, we sure didn't. We've got to start playing all four quarters like that. But it was a good team win.

"We knew we had to come and have a better second half. I mean, that first half was brutal. We've got to execute better in the first half, definitely, and we've got to play all four quarters together as a team."

Gronkowski's biggest catch came in the third quarter, while the Patriots trailed 17-3.

Following a Dolphins missed field goal that hit the right post, the Patriots marched 64 yards down the field to score their first touchdown of the game, as Brady connected with Aaron Dobson down the left side of the field for a 14-yard score.

But leading up to that touchdown, it was Gronkowski who pulled in a 23-yard catch down the middle of the field, to Miami's 18-yard line on a 2nd-and-10 play.

It goes down as Gronkowski's longest catch of the day, only because he had a 30-yard touchdown reception nullified by a holding penalty on Nate Solder.

With 31 seconds left in the third quarter, and the game tied at 17-17, the Patriots had a 1st-and-10 from the Miami 30-yard line. Brady found Gronkowski streaking towards the back of the end zone, and Gronkowski came down with it and got his body inbounds for what looked to be a go-ahead touchdown and New England's first lead of the game.

At the time, Gronkowski thought he had his first touchdown of the season, which was evident in his celebration, as he shoot off his right arm and then came down with a vicious spike, to imply that he hadn't been able to do that in a while.

"Yeah I [thought it was a touchdown]," said Gronkowski. "But, it's football. Some plays get called back. We overcame that, and we kicked a field goal that drive."

Solder was called for the hold, and the Patriots ended up with a 1st-and-20 rom the Miami 40-yard line. Four plays later, Stephen Gostkowski buried a 48-yard field goal to give New England a 20-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

"The momentum always kind of goes back-and-forth as the game goes on," said Brady after the win. "You love to have those momentum plays. We had the touchdown to Gronk that got called back on the holding penalty -- that would have been a big play. It's up and own and you just try to stay focused on your execution and stay focused on what you need to do."

Even though that touchdown was called back, it's evident that, with Gronkowski's big catch over the middle in the third quarter that led to their first touchdown of the game, the Patriots need their big tight end to execute at the offensive level that they'd prefer.

And in his second game back, Gronkowski said he's all good.

"It's football," said Gronkowski. "I mean, just getting back into it and rolling. I felt fine out there."