INDIANAPOLIS -- It took a little while, but Rob Gronkowski eventually made his presence felt in the Patriots 42-20 romp over the Colts Sunday night.
The Patriots big tight end scored his ninth touchdown of the season on a 26-yard pass in the fourth quarter. After catching the ball on the 18, Gronk just busted and muscled his way past helpless Colts defenders en route to the end zone. He became the first tight end in NFL history to have three consecutive 10-plus touchdown seasons (10 in 2010, 18 in 2011 and 11 in 2012).
Gronk now has nine touchdowns in 2014 and can become the first tight end in NFL history with four seasons of three touchdowns. Gronkowski is tied with Tony Gonzales (3) and Antonio Gates (3) for the most seasons with 10 or more touchdowns by a tight end. Gates enters this week with nine touchdowns in 2014.
He spoke about getting into it with former Patriot safety Sergio Brown after Jonas Gray's fourth touchdown of the night. Gronk pushed Brown past the sideline and into a camera cart and was hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for the effort.
“Yeah definitely, it’s just a part of the game," Gronk said. "A lot of emotions. You’ve got to be physically and mentally tough. Everyone on our team was playing hard. Everyone was playing physical. We went out there and did a great job as a team.”
Gronk was asked about how good it feels to have beaten some of the top teams in the conference recently.
“We just have to keep working hard, stick together as a team" he said. "Go out to practice this week and get prepared and do what we’ve been doing every week. Go out and execute on Sundays.”
Gronk is clearly feeling fine physically at this point in the season.
“Feeling good," he said. "Just had a bye week. Rested up. Healed up the body. Got a little bit stronger working out and stuff. Everyone’s doing well and we’ve all just got to keep working hard.”
Gronkowski now has 51 career touchdown receptions, the most among Patriots tight ends and the second-most touchdown receptions in Patriots history. Stanley Morgan holds the franchise record with 67 TD receptions.