Reinhold Matay/USA Today Sports

Rob Gronkowski explains what Steelers defense did to shut him down

Ryan Hannable
December 16, 2018 - 9:31 pm

PITTSBURGH -- After coming into the game with 39 receptions for 664 yards and eight touchdowns in six career games against the Steelers, Rob Gronkowski was kept in check by the Pittsburgh defense.

Gronkowski finished with just two catches on five targets for 21 yards in the 17-10 loss on Sunday.

“They were doing double teams, zone defense," Gronkowski said afterwards. "They did a good job and just have to make more plays on the road in order to get a win in a game like this.”

Shutting down Gronkowski was a major key for the Steelers in the win, especially given his history against them.

Limiting the Steelers offense to just 17 points, you'd think the Patriots would be in good shape to walk away with a win, but that wasn't the case. An 0-for-3 performance in the red zone, as well as a season-high 14 penalties were a major reason why.

“We just have to keep working hard and we have to put up points whenever we get opportunities to and whenever we get in the red zone," Gronkowski said. "It’s a team game. No matter what happens on either side we are all in it together. We’re all in it with each other.”

The Patriots are now 9-5 on the year and will finish the regular season with a 3-5 record on the road -- their worst since 2009.

Is something different with this team?

“Every year is different, every team is different every year," Gronkowski said. "We just have to stick together. We have to keep on grinding. We have to keep on working and we have to keep doing [more].”

Gronkowski and the Patriots will close out the year with home games against the Bills and Jets.

Related: Stevan Ridley continues to go at Patriots: It was an awesome feeling to beat them