New England Patriots: Rob Gronkowski goes beast mode vs. Steelers

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 17: Rob Gronkowski
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 17: Rob Gronkowski /

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was dominant against the Pittsburgh Steelers, leading his team to a 27-24 victory. 

There is something about black and gold that brings out the best in Rob Gronkowski.  Whatever it is, the big tight end put on one of his all-time best performances at Heinz Field to help catapult the New England Patriots to a thrilling 27-24 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After missing the previous week due to a one-game suspension, Gronkowski entered the Week 15 matchup not only hungry, but eager to atone for missing that one game and costing his team.

Atonement was just one of the words to describe the performance of All-Pro tight end.  With nine receptions for 187 yards, 135 of which coming in the second half, Gronkowski feasted on the Steelers’ defense like he has so many times before.  And when it comes to clutch performances.  That last drive alone showed how dominant Gronk is when he is physically and emotionally at his best.

New England Patriots
PITTSBURGH, PA – DECEMBER 17: Rob Gronkowski /

With 69 yards in that final two-minute drive, Rob Gronkowski talked about that final drive following the game.

"“There were two minutes left,” Gronkowski said, via  “I knew we had to go down, make a drive and just do what you have to do.  If the ball is coming to you, you just have to make some plays.  It just went well.  Tom [Brady] found me.  I made a couple of catches to keep the drive going.”"

The league’s most dynamic playmaker made more than a couple of catches.  He completely shelled the secondary of the Steelers.  Although Pittsburgh did a better job of getting to Tom Brady, that chemistry and rhythm between the 40-year-old quarterback and Gronkowski was special.

Rob Gronkowski at his best is uncoverable

More from Chowder and Champions

Bill Belichick knows how lucky he is to have that lethal offensive combination.

"“Even when Rob is covered he’s open because he is so long, and he has such great range and reach,” Belichick said.  “If you can put the ball away from the player who’s covering him even though he’s close, Rob can get it and the other guy can’t.  That happens to us a lot defensively too with those types of receivers.  Even though you’re right there, the quarterback puts the ball where only the receiver can get it and the defender can’t have enough to reach to get there.  Then that’s a good throw and a good catch.”"

Speaking of those 50-50 throws, Tom Brady acknowledged after the game the amount of trust he has in his big tight end to go up and make those plays. His ability to come through most of the time is attributed to the chemistry both players have as well as the amount of fight Rob Gronkowski displays on the field.

Next: New England Patriots: 5 things we love about Rob Gronkowski

Add that fight to that big body and athleticism and Gronkowski is an unstoppable force that only flag happy referees can slow down.  Watch out in the playoffs.