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Rob Gronkowski explains what happened on final play vs. Dolphins

Ryan Hannable
December 09, 2018 - 5:27 pm

MIAMI -- Rob Gronkowski doesn't play defense, and the final play in Sunday's game against the Dolphins showed why.

With the Patriots leading 33-28 with seven seconds left and the ball on the Miami 31-yard line, Gronkowski was on the field to guard the goal-line. Miami obviously did not call for a Hail Mary and after a Ryan Tannehill short completion to Kenny Stills and several laterals later, it left Gronkowski and Kenyan Drake alone near the goal-line.

Gronkowski slipped a bit and Drake raced into the end zone to stun the Patriots 34-33 in one of the most shocking losses in the Bill Belichick era.

“Yes, practiced that play a few times," Gronkowski said. "Hail Mary, you guys have seen it before, just go up for the ball, but they changed it up a little bit and just ended [sucky].”

Added Gronkowski: “Every time we practice it, it’s for the Hail Mary, but you have to be ready for everything. It’s football. The way it ended, it sucked. Never really been part of anything like that. I feel like it is going to test our character big time, how we bounce back from something like that. Got to make that tackle.”

Gronkowski ended up by replacing Devin McCourty on the play and his missed tackle came after several other missed tackles, as it seemed the defense did not attack the ball.

"I did trip a little bit, but that is football," he said. "That is why they say it is a game of inches. A game of a split-second here and there. That gave me a lesson that shows that that is true in the game of football.”

The loss drops the Patriots to 9-4 on the year, but they can still clinch the AFC East with a win next week against the Steelers.

As it relates to the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye, with Houston's loss the Patriots are still the No. 2 seed and in line for a first-round bye.

“It is going to test our character," Gronkowski said. "It’s going to test our mental toughness. I feel like I have been going through that all year to get to this point now. We just have to keep working hard and you just have to keep grinding. We have to keep focusing and come together as a team more and it is definitely going to test our mental toughness.”

Related: Dolphins 34, Patriots 33: 10 quick thoughts from stunning road loss