Rob Gronkowski shows ‘love’ for Pats fans and no respect to Redskins
|12.11.11 at 5:54 pm ET|
LANDOVER, Md. — Before his NFL record-breaking 14th touchdown catch as a tight end, Rob Gronkowski ran into franchise lore with a catch, run and rumble that goes down as one of the most memorable in Patriots history.
One play before, Gronkowski caught a crossing route pass from Tom Brady and fell to the ground untouchded. He got up and ran to the sideline, shaking off two would-be tacklers, including DeJon Gomes, whom Gronkowski routinely flung off like a rag doll at the Redskins 40. Gronkowski then rumbled down another 20 yards before being tripped up. He kept his balance long enough to get to the Redskins 11.
“Tom just made a great throw,” Gronkowski said. “The defender was right there. He put it where no one could get it besides me. I just made the catch and I just noticed the guy didn’t touch me at all. So, I got up, started running, just happened to spin off a couple of guys and got down to the  so it was a good play, big play. It was a good pass so, that’s where it started, was the pass.”
Did he think he was out of bounds after flinging Jones to the side?
“I don’t even know,” Gronkowski said. “There were no whistles or nothing so I was just running. When I don’t hear whistles, I just keep running.”
On the next play, Gronkowski ran a seam route into the end zone and caught the ball for his 14th receiving touchdown, the most by a tight end in any one season in NFL history. Antonio Gates (2004) and Vernon Davis (2009) had the previous record at 13.
He spiked the the ball and then looked up in the air to see where it was before retrieving it and getting to one of the Patriots equipment managers.
“I got the ball back and everything,” Gronkowski said. “It’s cool to get a record and everything but that really doesn’t matter. We got the team victory, we got the ‘W’ and that’s all that matters when coming out. The defense played well at the end of the game, they got that interception, which was huge. It can’t be any better coming out with a victory.”
In the third quarter, he broke free after being jammed at the line of scrimmage and hauled in a pass that resulted in a 37-yard TD reception, his 15th. He celebrated that by leaping into the stands and getting some love taps from a Patriots fan in a white jersey.
“I just do things on the spot,” Gronkowski said. “I never thought of that before. I just saw the guy with the New England jersey in the first row so got to give him some props, gotta give him some love because he’s got first row at an away game with the New England jersey on.”
There were thousands of Patriots fans inside FedExField Sunday that made it sound like “half the stadium” was behind them, according to Gronkowski.
Patriots fans everywhere will remember Sunday as the day Rob Gronkowski – with 160 yards and two TDs on six catches – further cemented his place in franchise lore in just his second season.
His 160 yards fell just one yard shy of the franchise record set by Ben Coates against the Dolphins on Sept. 4, 1994 at Miami.