FOXBOROUGH — Tom Brady still hasn’t given Rob Gronkowski any of his special homemade biscuits, but he gave him a couple of passes in the end zone and a new place in the history books on Sunday to make up for it.
“I guess he wasn’t making any more, so he made up for it,” Gronkowski said.
Gronkowski scored two touchdowns and finished with five catches for 82 yards in the Patriots’ win against the Dolphins, scoring first on a 5-yard grab in the first quarter and then with a 15-yard catch in the third.
The touchdowns were Gronkowski’s 73rd and 74th from Brady, and the 73rd moved the pair ahead of Drew Brees and Marques Colston for the fifth-most in NFL history. The game was Gronkowski’s 16th with multiple touchdowns, giving him the franchise record for multi-touchdown games, surpassing Randy Moss’s mark of 15. Gronkowski also moved past Kellen Winslow Sr. into the top 10 in receiving yards by a tight end.
“He did such a great job today,” Brady said.
Gronkowski’s first touchdown came on a second-and-goal from the Dolphins’ 5-yard line. A short pass to the left from Brady capped a nine-play, 88-yard drive during which Gronkowski accounted for 46 yards and a big conversion on a third-and-7.
“That’s just a part of the scheme,” Gronkowski said. “It’s a part of the play-calling. It’s a part of the run game, helping out to help with the play-action. When you get open like that, it’s kind of set up previously.”
His second touchdown came on a second-and-13 from the Dolphins’ 15 early in the third quarter. Lined up with his hand in the dirt outside left tackle Nate Solder, Gronkowski released and ran vertically, with receiver Brandin Cooks split out wide running parallel to him.
“That was a play we’ve been working on all week,” Gronkowski said.
Gronkowski identified zone coverage by the Dolphins before the snap. If the safety stayed with him, Cooks would get the ball, but when Gronkowski saw Reshad Jones take Cooks instead, he knew it was coming his way.
“[Cooks] did an unbelievable job running his route going full speed with that post clearing everyone out, and I just came through with a little patience and Tom just made a nice throw and just played the play,” Gronkowski said.
Gronkowski bobbled the ball once, but pulled it in and tapped his toes down before he went out of bounds. He turned and found Danny Amendola and Cooks waiting to celebrate in the end zone. Amendola brushed away a target with one of his cleats, and Gronkowski executed his signature spike right on the spot.
Gronkowski celebrated again after he had a hand (actually, his whole body) in a third touchdown; the shovel pass to Cooks in the fourth quarter. Cooks carried the ball over the goal line behind Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen for the score, then hopped on Gronkowski’s back and rode him like a racehorse through the end zone.
Gronkowski insisted after the game that no part of the celebration was premeditated. It sounded like a higher power (rhymes with Phil Melichick) had put the kibosh on any big group celebrations or even talk of them.
“That was not planned or anything,” Gronkowski said. “We got yelled at. We’re not allowed to talk about celebrations. That’s what we got told. But, I kind of want to talk about it, but I kind of don’t because I’ll get in trouble, so I don’t know what to do.”
Gronk thinking aloud about his TD celebration "We got yelled at we aren't allowed to talk about celebrations. But I kind of want to talk about it, but I kinda don't because I will get in trouble. So I don't know what to do. #Patriots pic.twitter.com/SC2UpFE9V5— Chad Amaral (@chad_amaral) November 26, 2017
Gronkowski stayed on his best behavior. It remains to be seen if Brady will reward the multi-touchdown effort by getting back in the kitchen to whip up a fresh batch of biscuits, but the quarterback seemed open to it after the game.
“I’ve got to do that for him because he wants it,” Brady said. “Anything he wants I usually try to get for him, so anything to keep him happy.”
That, like much of what Brady sends Gronkowski’s way, would be well-received.
“I still want those biscuits,” Gronkowski said.