On the face of things, this weekend couldn't have gone much better for the New England Patriots. A comfortable victory to get the play-offs started over the Houston Texans, preceded by an upset in the form of the Baltimore Ravens win over the Denver Broncos, meaning another game at Gillette, with everything on the line.
However, there is a big smear on the weekend. When Rob Gronkowski landed on his previously broken forearm on one of the first plays on offense, and his first target. He immediately left the game, and didn't return. Turns out he had broken it again.
The Pats still ran out easy winners. The offense still did the business, with Wes Welker putting up big numbers. But once again, the Patriots will be without their full collection of starters heading into the AFC Championship game. The question that arises is: Was Gronk rushed back?
The injury happened 8 weeks ago, in week 11 vs the Indianapolis Colts. The approximate recovery was 4-6 weeks. He came back 6 weeks later against the Miami Dolphins, and didn't seem to sustain further damage. I don't think anyone thought this would happen. It was simply a fluke injury. Heck, all of his 265 lbs fell onto a previously broken arm. That would test even the strongest of arms.
Don't sweat this one Pats fans. Sure, Gronk is awesome, he gives us something different to anything in the NFL. But Aaron Hernandez would be a #1 TE in the majority of teams, and the 2 TE system still worked on Sunday, and it's not like the Patriots have struggled for points when Gronk has been out.
Keep the faith. Redemption is still on.
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