New England Patriots: 3 All-Pro plays that defined Rob Gronkowski’s 2017 season

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Rob Gronkowski
FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Rob Gronkowski /

Rob Gronkowski returned to his dominant ways during the 2017 NFL season.  It was a performance earned him quite the bonus from the New England Patriots.

Healthy, focused and ready, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski returned to the field in 2017 and played some of the best football he has played in his NFL career.

Entering the season with a reworked incentive heavy contract, Gronkowski pocketed a $2.5 million bonus in his contract after earning a spot on the AP All-Pro first team.  That honor came after he finished the season with 69 receptions for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns.

In a season in which he also named to the NFL Pro Bowl, Gronkowski told the media on Tuesday that he was honored for the selection and attributes it all to hard work following an offseason in which he had to work his way back from a season-ending back injury that also threatened his career.

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"“It’s definitely an honor, for sure,” Gronkowski said, via  “I mean, a lot of hard work, dedication, patience, the whole process of coming back.  Definitely, I would say, patience is the virtue there.  You just can’t come back right away and think you’re going to be full speed, so just a lot of hard work, dedication.  It’s definitely an honor, humbly an honor, but it means nothing now to tell you the truth.  It’s the playoffs now.  It’s one and done if you lose, so just got to keep on preparing and looking forward, forward now and not look in the past.”"

That dedication certainly paid off on the field this season.  As Rob Gronkowski and the New England Patriots prepare for another playoff run, here’s a look back at three of the plays that defined Gronkowski’s All-Pro season.

Week 6 – New England Patriots vs. New York Jets

This particular play may not stand out when it comes to memorable Gronkowski touchdowns this season, but it showed Gronk’s physicality and ability to break away from defenders.  During the early part of the 2017 NFL season, this 33-yard scamper into the end zone showed the All-Pro tight end was back at full speed.

Gronkowski finished the game with six receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns.  He was simply too much for New York Jets young safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye.

Week 15 – New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

In one of the most dominate performances in his NFL career, Rob Gronkowski simply torched the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The play below is just one of the many plays Gronk came through on in the team’s 27-24 comeback victory over the black and gold.

Gronkowski finished the game with 168 receiving yards with 135 of those yards coming in the second half.  He was simply amazing.  With one of his catches being a shoe string catch, that particular game showed off Gronkowski’s mobility, flexibility and pure athleticism as a big receiving tight end.

Gronk credited hard work as the main ingredient in eating up the Steelers’ defense.

"“Hard work, working my tail off,” Gronkowski said following the game.  “We’re all playing hard, we’re all playing for each other.”"

Week 16 – Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots

Rob Gronkowski followed up his dominant performance against the Steelers with another solid game against the Buffalo Bills.

Just take a look at this spinning one-handed touchdown reception:

It was the 75th regular season touchdown connection between Tom Brady and Gronkowski.  It also showed Gronkowski’s ability to go up and get a ball with a defender draped all over him.

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These were just three of the many plays that showed Rob Gronkowski is very much back to his dominant ways.