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Turns out, the reigning Super Bowl champion Buccaneers really needed a Gronk to get them out of a funk. Tampa Bay tight end Rob Gronkowksi had been out of the lineup since midway through Week Three, but he returned to the field Monday night for the 30-10 win over the New York Giants. The victory was the first for Tampa (7-3) in nearly month (they had lost consecutive games with a bye sandwiched in between), and the tight end’s return was a big reason for their success.
Gronkowski, who had been out because of a rib injury, put up a meaty stat line in his return. He accounted for six receptions and 71 yards, including a 35-yard reception on third down that changed the momentum of the first half.
“Oh, it’s huge. (Brady) had all day on that play to find (Gronkowski). He was like his fourth read, and Gronk just kept on running,” head coach Bruce Arians said of the play, per the Tampa Bay Times. “That’s a big target to miss running across the field, so he’s easy to see.”
The Bucs ran it in for a touchdown one play later.
"That's what it's all about."
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) November 23, 2021
Though the Giants’ defense likely would’ve preferred Gronk take at least another week to recover, Bucs quarterback Tom Brady was more than happy to have his longtime teammate back on the field. Brady told the Tampa Bay Times that Gronkowski positively affects the Buccaneers’ offense in a variety of ways.
“He’s so dynamic in the run game and the pass game, in short throws, deep throws, red zone, third down. A dominant blocker. He’s just consistent, dependable. He’s been my teammate for a long time. It’s a real privilege to play with such an incredible player and person.”
Despite the praise from others, Gronk downplayed his own impact and lauded the total team effort.
“It was a great team win. Everyone contributed. From the top to the bottom. From the offensive side to the defensive side. And that’s what’s all about – getting team wins.”
Clearly, those team wins are a little easier to snag when a healthy Gronk is catching passes.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF