December 11, 2011
It's not news that New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is just about the best in the business at his position, but on an afternoon in which he set the single-season touchdown record for tight ends in a 34-27 win over the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field, it was a play before that defining score — on that same drive — that really exemplified why Gronkowski has become an exceptional player. Yes, he makes great catches in traffic, and yes, he blocks inline as well as any tight end we've seen in years. But when it comes to sheer effort plays … well, you'll have to go a ways before you'll see one quite like this.
Just one play later, "Gronk" got the score that his efforts deserved.
That touchdown was #14, breaking the record set by San Diego's Antonio Gates in 2004, and tied by San Francisco's Vernon Davis in 2009. Here was #15, in which Gronkowski once again demonstrated two things. First, that he will do just about anything to get away from a tackler. Second, that the Washington Redskins aren't very good at tackling.
Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan on Gronk? Yikes, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. You may want to burn that coverage before you face this particular tight end again. According to Rick Maese of the Washington Post, Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson may have summed up Gronkowski best: "The guy's a gargoyle."
Gronkowski finished his historic day with six catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns ... and maybe a slight lead over New Orleans' Jimmy Graham in the current "Best Tight End in Football" sweepstakes.
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