The Patriots lost one of their brightest stars at the worst possible time, but they survived. The same can not be guaranteed within two weeks.
All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski did not return to the AFC Championship Game on Sunday against the Jaguars after sustaining a head injury. New England was forged without him, with two scoring receptions from Danny Amendola for a 24-20 victory and another AFC crown.
Gronkowski went to the locker room after suffering a hand to hand collision just before halftime. The safety of Jaguars Barry Church was marked by unnecessary roughness on the play after hitting Gronkowski to break a shot by Tom Brady.
The absence of Gronkowski was a great loss for a team of Patriots that seeks to accumulate yards in the middle of the field. The big-body player started with just one catch for 21 yards out of three goals, attracting a lot of attention from a variety of Jacksonville defenders before suffering the injury.
The Patriots still have a flock of weapons in the backfield and in the air, but this setback greatly changed the way they could attack the solid Jacksonville defense. New England adjusted, opening the offense with more screens that soften the defense and a variety of medium to deep goals for Amendola and Brandin Cooks, although it required an increase in the fourth quarter to complete the victory.
New England isn & # 39; Without talented players, but the status of Gronkowski is worth moving forward. The closed wing adds another dimension that causes problems to each opponent. Your health and availability will undoubtedly be one of the most outstanding stories of the accumulation of two weeks for the biggest sport game.