FOXBORO — There’s no one on the Patriots that needed the bye more than Rob Gronkowski , something he admitted after Sunday’s 28-0 laugher over the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium . Gronkowski played for the first time since breaking the left forearm on Nov. 18.
‘It’s always good to get a week off,” Gronkowski said. “Extra time to heal, extra time to get stronger and extra time to be able to do what you got to do to get out there and be going full speed. Everyone on the team, [with] all their nicks and bruises and stuff, can get better and hopefully take it to our advantage and work hard.”
Gronkowski had two catches for 42 yards on four targets, including a patented 23-yard seam route from Tom Brady  that resulted in his 11th touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter. He was in on 24 snaps for the Patriots as he played for the first time in six weeks.
‘It felt good. I haven’t gotten hit in a while,” Gronkowski said. “It’s been a couple weeks ‘ about six weeks since I’ve gotten hit. It’s football, I’m always ready to get hit, always ready to get knocked down. You’ve just got to get back up and get back in the huddle. So it felt good to be back out there.’
Gronkowski was asked several times after the game when he was cleared to play. He nervously laughed at the question before finally acknowledging that he was medically cleared late in the week. He was told by the coaching staff on Sunday that he would be playing.
‘I just prepared all week thinking I was going to play,” he said. “Really didn’t just get an answer like, ‘Alright Rob, you’re good to go.’ The doctors cleared me and everything, so that was good. But I was just preparing my mind all week that I was going to play. It really wasn’t when I got cleared because I was just preparing myself all week since Monday that I was going to come out here and play with my teammates.
‘It was up to the coaches, the training staff how much I was going to play. They control everything, I’m just glad we got the win versus a good Miami Dolphins  team. Overall they have a good defense, so just glad to be back out with my team.’
As for getting back on the field before the playoffs, Gronk admitted it was significant.
‘It’s always important,” Gronkowski said. “I got limited reps, obviously, not that many. But you always want to get some reps before heading into the playoffs. It’s good to get the speed down, the feel of the game. If it’s practice, you can go hard, but that was game time. It was great to get some reps in, get the flow back into it and be out there with your teammates and connect with some chemistry with your teammates.’