Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Big Plays by Te Gronkowski in 2nd Half Sealed Steelers' Fate

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Big Plays by Te Gronkowski in 2nd Half Sealed Steelers' Fate

Article excerpt

Depending on your perspective, the Steelers either did a good job locking down New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski in the first half or Tom Brady was merely lulling them to sleep with the inactivity.

Gronkowski was targeted just one time in the first half that resulted in a 13-yard catch, certainly not the type of impact you would expect from a four-time All-Pro tight end who historically has had big games against the Steelers.

"They were certainly aware of him and Martellus Bennett," Brady said.

That all changed, though, in the second half.

And it was enough to change the complexion of the game and dispel any notion the Steelers had of upsetting the Patriots.

Gronkowski beat safety Robert Golden down the middle of the field for a 36-yard touchdown to give the Patriots a 20-13 lead, then turned Golden around on a 37-yard catch to the Steelers 5 to set up LeGarrette Blount's second touchdown run on the next play.

Gronkowski had only three catches in the second half, but they totaled 80 yards and produced two touchdowns. Not to mention being the difference in the game.

"They didn't throw the ball to him in the first half, but he came out in the second half and had two explosive plays," outside linebacker Jarvis Jones said. "They were huge plays in the second half."

Gronkowski was targeted only four times against the Steelers, but he caught all four passes for 93 yards. Since Brady returned from his four-game suspension at the start of the season, Gronkowski has come to life, catching 16 passes for 364 yards and two touchdowns in three games.

And he especially comes to life against the Steelers. Eight of his 68 career touchdowns have come in five games against the Steelers.

"He is who he is for a reason," Golden said. "He does it week in and week out."

It wasn't just all about Gronkowski for the Patriots. …

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