patriots notebook

Rob Gronkowski’s game ends with broken left forearm

Strong day ends with an injury

Tight end Rob Gronkowski terrorized Colts defenders with seven catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski terrorized Colts defenders with seven catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

FOXBOROUGH — The news was not all good on the Patriots front Sunday. Tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered a broken left forearm in the 59-24 victory over the Colts, according to an NFL source.

Gronkowski didn’t speak to reporters after the game, and wasn’t seen in the locker room. He left the game following Stevan Ridley’s 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter — he was also in for the extra point — with no obvious signs of injury.

Gronkowski continues to work his way into the team and league record books.


He caught seven passes (he was targeted seven times) for 137 yards and two touchdowns, his third 100-yard game of the season and ninth of his career. His nine 100-yard games ties Ben Coates’s Patriots record for a tight end.

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Gronkowski caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady on the Patriots’ opening drive, then added a second score in the third quarter, a 24-yarder following a Colts turnover.

Gronkowski’s second touchdown of the game made him the first tight end in NFL history with at least 10 touchdowns in three straight seasons.

Multisport star

Different sport, but Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich is getting pretty good at completing the 3-point play.

For the second time this season, Ninkovich recorded a rare trifecta on the same play — sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery — when he recorded a 5-yard strip sack on Andrew Luck with 3:24 left in the third quarter.


Ninkovich overpowered left tackle Anthony Castonzo — a second-year pro from Boston College — and tipped the ball away from Luck, then pounced on it.

“All game I was trying to make [Luck] uncomfortable, get in his face, and that one I was able to give him a little bull-rush, and then grab his arm, pull his arm up and get underneath him around the corner,” Ninkovich said.

“I didn’t really see the ball until it was like at my feet. I didn’t know if he threw it or what, I knew I hit him but I didn’t know where the ball was.

“A little luck right there. That one I just fell down and saw the ball and said, ‘Hey, I’ll grab it.’ ”

It was Ninkovich’s fifth forced fumble of the season, which leads the team and matches the season franchise record, set in 2007 by former linebacker Mike Vrabel.


The first time Ninkovich recorded the triple play this season was in a 29-26 overtime victory against the Jets, when he sacked Mark Sanchez and recovered the fumble that ended the game.

Chung still on shelf

Safety Patrick Chung, despite practicing all week, spent his fourth straight game on the inactive list, and quickly deleted a pregame Twitter post that might have reflected his disappointment at not playing.

Chung has been bothered by hamstring and shoulder injuries but has participated in every practice since missing one Oct. 26, when the team arrived in London to play the Rams.

Yet he has been ruled inactive by the team every Sunday since playing Oct. 14 at Seattle.

Chung is in the final year of the four-year deal he signed as a rookie in 2009, when the Patriots drafted him with a second-round pick.

Prior to the team’s inactive list being issued, Chung’s Twitter account had a post that said, “Gotta love business.” It was deleted not long after. Chung was not spotted in the locker room after the game.

Guards sit out

As expected, the Patriots were also without left guard Logan Mankins, who left last Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and didn’t practice all week. The other starting guard, Dan Connolly, also was on the inactive list with a back injury. Mankins and Connolly were replaced in the starting lineup by Donald Thomas and Nick McDonald.

A pair of tight ends — Aaron Hernandez and Daniel Fells — were also inactive. Hernandez (ankle) has missed three straight games. A pair of defensive linemen — Jake Bequette and Justin Francis — were healthy scratches.

Linebacker Tracy White, defensive end Trevor Scott, and defensive tackle Ron Brace returned from injuries. White had missed four straight games with a foot injury, while Scott (hamstring) sat for two straight and Brace (elbow) for one.

Rude welcome

When Adam Vinatieri came on the field to kick the extra point after the Colts’ opening-series touchdown, a good number of boos could be heard from the crowd. It happened every time Vinatieri came on the field, an unexpectedly rude welcome for the Patriots’ all-time scoring leader. Vinatieri scored 1,158 points during his Patriots career (1996-2005).

He heard them, too.

“The same ones that were booing were saying at the end, ‘Oh, we still love you, man.’ So it’s all good,” Vinatieri said. “It’s gamesmanship, or whatever you want to call it. I understand the deal. That’s homefield advantage. That’s what you’re supposed to do. Get loud and get rowdy and make it hard on the other team.”

Vinatieri missed a 58-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half, which would have been a career long.

Jones’s day cut short

Rookie defensive end Chandler Jones injured his right ankle midway through the first quarter and had to depart the field to have his ankle re-taped. He did not return . . . Brady (331) threw for at least 300 yards for the 51st time in his career, which matches Dan Fouts for sixth in league history . . . Wes Welker’s 22-yard catch at the end of the first quarter extended his streak to 104 games with a reception . . . When Stephen Gostkowski missed a 36-yard field goal attempt wide right in the second quarter, it snapped his streak of 11 successful field goal attempts. Gostkowski did, however, equal a club game record, converting eight extra points . . . Vick Ballard’s 20-yard run off left tackle for a first down in the first quarter was the third run of 20 yards or more that the Patriots’ defense had allowed this season . . . Aqib Talib’s 59-yard interception return for a touchdown was the Patriots’ first since Sterling Moore’s 21-yarder vs. the Bills on Jan. 1, 2012 . . . The Colts’ first five possessions of the game resulted in scores — three for them, and two for the Patriots. Indianapolis went touchdown-touchdown-punt return for a Patriots touchdown- interception return for a Patriots touchdown-field goal . . . Zoltan Mesko punted just twice, but averaged 57 yards . . . Offensive guard Mitch Petrus, signed last week, made his Patriots debut late in the game, when Ryan Mallett also got to play a series. It meant that all 53 players who were active for the game saw the field . . . Perhaps it doesn’t mean anything, but the locker for receiver Deion Branch — who was released on Saturday — was still intact, with his nameplate at the top . . . An hour after the game, with the stadium empty but the lights still on, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was near midfield, playing lacrosse with Paul Rabill of the Boston Cannons.

Michael Vega of the Globe staff contributed. Michael Whitmer can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.