Gronkowski sets tight end TD record

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Gronkowski sets tight end TD record

LANDOVER, MD -- Rob Gronkowski broke the all-time record for receiving touchdowns by a tight end in a single season in New England's 34-27 win over Washington.

He tried to play coy after the game.

"What record?" Gronkowski quipped to the hoard of reporters encircling his locker. The straight face lasted, literally, half a second before his guffaws replaced it.

"Got the ball back and everything. It was cool to get a record and everything, but that really doesn't matter. We got the team victory, we got the 'W' and that's all that matters coming out."

Gronkowski caught his 14th touchdown ball in the first quarter on an 11-yard pass from Tom Brady. He paused, then launched his trademark spike, which bounced about 20 feet in the air and went over the goal post. Gronkowski immediately chased down the record-breaking ball and brought it over to the bench.

He thought he set the mark in the third quarter of last week's tilt against the Colts. After review, that catch was ruled a lateral, making it a rushing touchdown by Gronkowski. The sideline celebration was for naught -- or, rather, to be continued.

Such is the way with this tight end.

Just 22-years old, Gronkowski seems to raise the bar on a weekly basis. He leaves Washington with two scores and 160 receiving yards, the sixth time he's had multiple TDs in a game and the fourth game he's tallied over 100 yards. He also set a franchise record for scoring in six straight games; he hurdled Randy Moss among others to set that mark.

Washington rookie linebacker Ryan Kerrigan could only pay respect.

"He's got it all in terms of being a tight end," Kerrigan said. "He's strong, he can run after the catch, he's fast. He can do it all. He's what you want in a tight end."

His upper body betrays the breezy memories. On Sunday, Gronkowski had a green bruise running the length of his lower back. His left elbow was swollen. There was a spot of blood on one arm and various scratches on the other.

Mementos left by vanquished opponents.

They try and try to take him down. One Washington attempt in the second quarter will highlight the highlight reels. Gronkowski made a sliding catch over the middle on a Patriots second-and-nine. Then he got up. And he ran. Redskins safeties Reed Doughty and DeJon Gomes threw themselves at Gronkowski near the sideline -- one at his feet, the other at his arms -- but he spun off of one and broke free of the other. And he kept running.

Gronkowski tacked 49 yards on to the catch and left jaws unhinged throughout the stadium.

"There was no whistles or nothing, so I just started running," he grinned. "When I don't hear a whistle I just keep playing."

"You've got to go full speed at all times out there. Those guys are big, those guys are all fast out there. If you're not going full speed they're going to knock you down right away."

Yeah, right. If there's someone out there who can stop Gronkowski, the Patriots have yet to meet him.

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

BOSTON -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-3 win over the Royals:

QUOTES

“I hadn’t really thought about it. Trying to win games. It’s late in the year . . . I don’t really have time to sit back and pat myself on the back for anything. We’re trying to win as a team.” - Dustin Pedroia on the importance of the 11-for-11 stretch in his career.

“It’s fun. It’s why you go to work in December, January, February. It’s all the work you put in up to this point. It feels good to go out there and get the results you expect to get, especially against a team like [the Royals] who is hot as they are right now.” - David Price on pitching meaningful games with a playoff-like atmosphere.

“Yeah, yeah we [knew about the streak] . . .  It was an awesome roll and it was fun to see . . . Every time I went up to hit, I let Salvador Perez know.” - Xander Bogaerts on Dustin Pedroia’s 11-for-11 streak.

“I think we’ve been able to handle velocity very well. We’ve got good bat-speed in out lineup, and we’re able to handle that.” - John Farrell on the offense thriving against good pitching.

 

NOTES

* David Ortiz played in his 1,000th game at Fenway Park, becoming the fifth player to do so.

* Ortiz also became the first player ever to play 2,000 games as the designated hitter.

* Mookie Betts scored his 100th run of the season off his 29th home run of the year, joining Fred Lynn, Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams as the only players to reach 100 runs before turning 24.

* The Red Sox hit back-to-back home runs for the fourth time this season with Betts and Hanley Ramirez going yard in the fifth.

* With his 2-for-4 day at the plate, Jackie Bradley Jr. improved to 34-for-94 (.362) batting ninth.

 

STARS

1) Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia finished 4-for-5, extending his streak to 11 hits in 11 at-bats, finishing one shy of tying the MLB record.

2) David Price

Price logged his fourth straight quality start with his six-inning, two-run start. He also dropped his ERA below 4.00 for the first time since his Opening Day start with Boston.

3) Salvador Perez

Perez finished 2-for-3 with two home runs. Saturday marked only the second multi-home run game of his career.