Originally written on Down and Distance  |  Last updated 11/14/14

PITTSBURGH - NOVEMBER 14: Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots celebrates scoring a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 14, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
AP Photo/Elise Amendola The New England Patriots are down a weapon with tight end Rob Gronkowski now on injured reserve.  Gronk suffered a broken forearm and underwent surgery earlier this week. Gronkowski missed several regular season games due to the injury, and the Patriots took a risk and played him in the playoffs against the Texans.  The Pro Bowler exited the game in the 1st quarter after landing on the injured forearm during a sideline catch.  This is the second season in a row that Gronk has not been healthy for the playoffs. While Gronk is a rarity and will be missed as he is an essential piece to what New England does, the Patriots have several other options in their arsenal.  They were without their other tight end sensation Aaron Hernandez last year in the post season, and managed to still put up 30 against Baltimore.  It’s hard to predict which players will show up with a big play maker absent.  Running back Shane Vareen unexpectedly had a coming out party against the Texans last week with two rushing touchdowns and one touchdown reception.  With the loss of Gronk, you would have expected a Welker or a Hernandez to take over.  It illustrates the depth in personnel that New England has. The debate goes back and forth concerning whether or not the loss of Rob hurts the Patriots.  From a statistical standpoint, the Patriots averaged 6 yards per play with Gronkowski in action, and 5.4 yards without him.  Quarterback Tom Brady’s numbers also slightly suffered with a drop in completion percentage, as well as a hit to his TD:INT ratio. The Patriots may not be as dangerous with out their star tight end, but it also makes them more unpredictable. Follow Us On Twitter!  @DownandDistance Sports Kings Down and Distance Contributor Austin Peat  @PistolPeat187 The post Pats Place Gronk on IR appeared first on DOWN & DISTANCE.
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