The New England Patriots missed Rob Gronkowski last week against the Miami Dolphins as the tight end served a one-game suspension for a dangerous hit, but he should be back in action on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers- and if his past success means anything for the New England offense, then Gronkowski is primed to have a huge day.
Gronkowski has played just five games against the Steelers in his NFL career, all in the regular season, and as the Globe’s Anthony Gulizia highlights, Gronkowski went Full Gronk on the Pittsburgh defense.
In Gronk’s rookie season, he collected 5 receptions for 72 yards and 3 touchdowns. In his sophomore 2011 season, he added 7 catches for 94 yards. In one of his few games in 2013, Gronkowski picked up 9 grabs for 143 yards and a touchdown.
In the 2015 opener, he gained 94 yards and 3 touchdowns on 5 catches. And last year, Gronkowski added 4 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Five games for Gronkowski against the Steelers and he’s dominated in all five, grabbing 30 catches for 496 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Part of Gronkowski’s success is rooted in the Steelers’ style of defense that blitzes linebackers and defensive backs that can leave Gronkowski wide open up the seam and that reason has not changed. If Gronkowski can pick up where he left off against the Steelers, he could be in line for a huge day en route to a Patriots victory.
Final note: Gronkowski failed to record a touchdown just once against the Steelers. The Patriots lost that game in 2011. He needs to score on Sunday.