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Why Rob Gronkowski enjoyed blocking J.J. Watt in win over Texans

Ryan Hannable
September 24, 2017 - 6:48 pm

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski's role was a little different on Sunday than usual.

The Patriots tight end stayed in to block on a lot of plays, as the Texans have arguably the best pass rush in football including J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus.

"I don’t really care what my role is, whether it’s blocking, if it’s receiving a lot. But I just appreciate that I’m out there playing the game," Gronkowski said. "Whatever role the coaches want me to do – if it’s jamming, if it’s blocking I’ve got no problem, especially a game like that. I don’t think I would’ve made it if I ran 50 routes today because I’m usually running deep, up and down. So I actually appreciated being in there and jamming J.J. [Watt] a few times instead of going out on a route.

"I mean it’s helping out the team jamming the pass rush so Tom [Brady] gets more time and also at the same time a guy covering in man is sitting there so it’s kind of like taking two guys for one helping out the team that way. I have no problem doing that on a day like today."

Gronkowski's blocking helped Brady get the extra time he needed in the pocket as he threw for 378 yards and five touchdowns in the comeback win.

The tight end suffered a groin injury against the Saints last week, but confirmed it didn't bother him in the game. Gronkowski finished with eight catches for 89 yards and a touchdown. With his first quarter touchdown, he became the fastest tight end to reach 70 career touchdown receptions, doing so in 91 games.

"I mean it wasn’t 100 percent, I would probably say, until the game," he said. "You have to work it through rehab and practice and everything. I mean I knew it was going to be good. That’s why I said this week I’ll be good. So I was good."

His first down catch on third-and-12 on the final drive got things going, as until that point the Patriots offense was dead coming off two straight three-and-out drives.

Gronkowski acknowledged what a great game it was and how happy he was to play a part in it.

"I mean it’s basically kind of a coming together," he said of the last drive. "Bringing it together as an offensive group out there on the field and we all looked at each other and not one person is just going to make us win the game. We all looked at each other and we all counted on each other to make plays. I feel like everyone in that huddle made plays that drive. Everyone came together to make the plays to help us win.

"It just shows how big of a team game this is, NFL football. That was a great NFL football game. After that win I was like, ‘That’s what NFL football is right there’. You’ve got great players on both sides of the ball, on the defensive side, the offensive side of both teams and everyone fighting to the end and playing in that heat too. I mean it was a battle."

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