Gronk 'feeling good' but 'still mad'

The conundrum that is Rob Gronkowski's health status looks to finally be making its way through the fog. The Patriots' All-Pro tightend finally made his way on to the game field after prepping for the return for months. There was clearly some rust that needed to be shaken off, but Gronk looked to fill the void that was definitely felt in his absence.

Getty Images
Gronkowski was on field for 51 of 79 offensive snaps, way more than most analysts had anticipated. He was targeted a career-high 17-times by quarterback Tom Brady while reeling in 8 catches for 114 yards. Though he produced at the above-average level that we have all come to expect, one play in particular sticks out in Gronk's mind; the tightend seemed to snag a one-handed pass in the fourth quarter as the Patriots were driving, but ultimately dropped the pass which could have easily resulted in a touchdown:
"Still mad at myself about that," he said. "I had it, I brought it in and I dropped it."

That play aside, it was very refreshing for Tom Brady to finally have one of his favorite targets back on the field. Gronk himself said that he felt good, and after just a couple plays he settled back into the swing of things:

 -"Everything went good, I'm feeling good and just got to keep working hard every week, got to keep on improving every week," he said. "[I've] got lots to improve on and can keep on getting better every week."
-"It felt good to get back out there with the teammates," he said. "Fight with your team. Played hard with your team. You win as a team, you lose a team, and you've got to give it to the Jets; they're a good team, they've got a good defense and we've just got to make more plays out there."
-"I was in there [for] a lot of blocking plays and it was just really after the first play," he said. "I mean, after the first time you get tackled, after the first blocking play, after basically the first play and it felt good, it felt just like normal, being back out there with the teammates and rolling."

When Tom Brady was asked his opinion of Gronk and his performance today, TB12 simply said, "He played his butt off". The return of Gronkowski, which looked to be a bigger story than the actual division-rivalry game between the Jets and Patriots was ultimately overshadowed by a Jets upset. Regardless of the game outcome, a healthy Gronkowski seems to be what the Patriots have right now and we can only hope that it stays that way.

Stats and quotes via

Anthony Aidonidis