Of Rob Gronkowski’s eight touchdown catches in nine games this season, seven have come from inside the red zone. Both of his scoring plays in Sunday night’s rout of the New York Jets [team stats] originated in the red. Last year as a rookie, nine of his 10 touchdowns were red-zone specials, giving him 16-of-18 in less than two seasons.
Prior to Gronkowski’s arrival, the offense had its struggles getting from the 20-yard line to the end zone. But with Gronkowski making the tough catches in close, and with BenJarvus Green-Ellis providing the rugged goal-line runs, the Pats are the second-best team in the league, behind the Tennessee Titans [team stats], in the red zone this season.
Down there, everything compresses. The passing zones are smaller and tighter, so having a 6-foot-6, 265-pound target like Gronkowski is a welcome sight.