November 19, 2012

Patriots Notebook: Bad break for Gronk despite superb game

By Mike Lowe
Staff Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots were practically giddy after their 59-24 thrashing of the Indianapolis Colts Sunday evening at Gillette Stadium.

Alfonzo Dennard, Aqib Talib
click image to enlarge

Aqib Talib, in his first game as a New England Patriot, returns an interception for a touchdown while fellow cornerback Alfonzo Dennard watches during first-half action.

The Associated Press

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Then the bad news came.

Several news outlets reported that tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered a broken forearm on the team's final PAT kick of the game in the fourth quarter.

Tom Curran of Comcast SportsNet was the first to report that the forearm was broken. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the timing of the injury.

Gronkowski had a huge game, catching all seven passes thrown his way for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

His second touchdown reception, a 24-yarder late in the third period, gave him 10 on the season, making him the first tight end in NFL history to have scored at least 10 touchdowns in three consecutive seasons.

He is second on the team with 53 catches for 748 yards, averaging 14.1 yards per catch.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that Gronkowski could miss four to six weeks.

The Patriots, 7-3 atop the AFC East, have six games remaining in the regular season.

The Patriots didn't mention Gronkowski's injury in any postgame interviews.

New England has been without tight end Aaron Hernandez for much of the season with an ankle injury. The Patriots also have tight ends Visanthe Shiancoe, Daniel Fells and Michael Hoomanawanui on the roster.

AQIB TALIB had an eventful debut for the New England Patriots Sunday afternoon.

The cornerback, acquired in a Nov. 1 trade with Tampa Bay for a fourth-round pick, was in the middle of a lot of big plays -- both good and bad -- against the Colts.

The good?

He returned an Andrew Luck interception 59 yards for a touchdown to give the Patriots a 21-14 lead they would never lose.

The bad? He was beaten for two touchdowns by the Colts' T.Y. Hilton.

"It was all right, a little sloppy," he said of his play. "My feet was everywhere but it will get better as I get back in these pads and get in a little better shape."

Talib had to serve a four-game suspension for taking a performance-enhancing drug and this was his first action in six weeks.

"Just get my body back right, keep learning so I can get this stuff down pat, so that it's second-nature to me, then I'll be all right," he said.

Talib finished with seven tackles and one pass defense in addition to his Pick Six.

Safety Steve Gregory said Talib's presence was a factor in the improved secondary play.

"I'm sure some things out there he would have liked to do better," said Gregory. "It was a good game, it was good to get out there with him, get the communications things going on with him, understand how he plays in a game atmosphere.

"Practice is one thing but when you get out there in live action, you kind of get a feel for each other. That was a great experience for us today."

HENRY KISSINGER, the secretary of State under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, was a guest of Patriots owner Bob Kraft on the sidelines during pregame warm-ups. The two have known each other for years.

THE PATRIOTS scored on offense, defense (two interception returns) and special teams (punt return) for the first time since Oct. 4, 2010, a 41-14 win at Miami. In that game, they also scored touchdowns on a blocked field goal and a kickoff return.

INDIANAPOLIS WR Reggie Wayne extended his streak of catching at least three passes in a game to 58, tying the NFL record. He shares it with Chris Carter.

Andrew Luck set an NFL rookie record with his fifth 300-yard passing game of the season.

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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