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Key Moment: Rob Gronkowski’s first-quarter diving touchdown catch

01.15.12 at 1:02 am ET

FOXBORO ‘€“ For New England football fans, the first Patriots playoff win in years certainly lived up to the hype. The 45-10 trouncing of Tim Tebow and the Broncos was more than just a victory that propels the Pats into the AFC Championship Game, but a statement to all of Patriot nation: the Pats have their eyes set on the prize.

This week’€™s key moment came pretty early on against Denver, with 6:42 remaining in the first quarter. The Patriots held a 7-0 lead before Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski ‘€“ the two heroes of Saturday night’€™s beat down – hooked up for the first of three touchdown connections. It was a 10-yard strike to the back left corner of the end zone. Gronkowski had to leave his feet in a dive and stretch out to make a one-handed snag, tipping it to himself and sealing it against his body before sliding out of bounds.

This score to Gronk gave the Patriots their first multi-score lead ‘€“ one that would only continue to grow over the course of the game. Brady said after the game that when the team makes plays like that, it really weakens the opponent.

‘€œI thought we just executed well. That catch that Gronk made for a touchdown in the corner was one of the best catches I’€™ve ever seen,’€ Brady said. ‘€œWhen you’€™re making plays like that, it’€™s really not about the defense. It’€™s about making spectacular plays. There were some great efforts ‘€“ Aaron [Hernandez] on the touchdown catch and run, Wes [Welker] really got us started, Gronk had some other pretty great touchdowns too. It was a good day.’€

The catch capped off a seven-play, 59-yard drive that ate 3:25 off the clock. Gronkowski said that the team will enjoy the win over Denver for a little while tonight and tomorrow, and as soon as the team knows who it is playing next weekend, the work begins. But as for tonight, he added that a team can’€™t start a game any better.

‘€œObviously you can’€™t start a game any better than that. Going down, scoring on the first drive; that’€™s what we’€™ve been aiming to do,’€ Gronkowski said. ‘€œIt was a good thing we started off good. We played all four quarters of the game. The defense was playing well and we were all just helping each other out.’€

Read More: Broncos, Patriots, Rob Gronkowski, Tim Tebow



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