Patriots’ tight ends still playing key role

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FOXBOROUGH — The National Football League tracks many offensive and defensive statistics during the course of the season, but it does not recognize a key block on a touchdown-scoring play.

But if there were such a stat, LeGarrette Blount said, “I’d be the first one to give a couple of assists out.’’

The bruising Blount, who set a Patriots record with four rushing TDs in last Saturday’s 43-22 romp over the Colts, knew the team’s tight ends were worthy of such statistical recognition.

After Rob Gronkowski went down with a season-ending knee injury and was placed on injured reserve Dec. 9, the Patriots adjusted their schemes and used the tight ends as extra blockers in a newfound ground-and-pound rushing attack.

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