Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 10/20/13
Buffalo-bills-new-england
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Tom Brady was not going to let his returning toy go untargeted. Rob Gronkowski was thrown to a game-high 17 times on Sunday in the Patriots’ loss to the Jets. He caught eight of those passes for 114 yards, but the return certainly could have gone better for the All-Pro tight end. And a win would have cleared all mistakes. Gronkowski lost one ball in the lights in the end zone and he had two key drops on the Patriots’ fourth quarter drive that resulted in a game-tying field goal. He wouldn’t admit he was knocking off any rust, though. “I wouldn’t want to put it like that, because that’s what practice is for — to knock off the rust,” Gronkowski said. “There’s just no excuses. Just gotta make plays at all times. Just gotta work hard in practice and got to keep on grinding. I have to keep on getting better every week.” Gronkowski admitted he lost the ball in the lights in the end zone. It wasn’t clear what happened on the play at the time as the ball sailed over his head and he didn’t reach up for it. “Nah, I didn’t see the ball at all,” Gronkowski said. “But that’s not an excuse. You gotta be prepared for situations like that and I gotta do a better job there. It was a nice throw and it could have potentially been a good play.” Gronkowski will get better. And when he improves, the offense will as well. But the tight end played the majority of snaps and the offense really only looked better in the first quarter. They had issues in the second quarter and came out cold after halftime for the seventh straight week. “We moved the ball sometimes,” Gronkowski said. “But we have to move the ball at all times better and we gotta make more plays. Personally, myself, I gotta come down with some of those plays. I could have had some of them. And I gotta make them.” It was important that Gronkowski did not look hesitant on the field, though, despite missing so many weeks of action. He wore a black padded sleeve on his left arm, but did not seem to be favoring it at all. “It felt good to get back out there with the teammates, play with your team, play hard with your team,” Gronkowski said. “You win as a team and you lose as a team. You gotta give it up to the Jets, they’re a good team. They have a good defense. We just have to make more plays out there and do better.” He said the sleeve did not bother him. He’s been wearing it at practice and he’s used to it. Brady said his tight end “played his butt off” and Bill Belichick said “I thought he went out there and competed.” He was a boost to the offense, but not as impactful as some may have imagined. It appeared that Brady keyed in on Gronkowski, especially toward the end of the game. Brady targeted Gronkowski six times on the final two drives. He caught just three of those passes. It’s not clear where the offense goes from here. The Jets deserve a lot of credit, as Gronkowski mentioned, but the Patriots will need to play better against quality defenses as the season progresses. The offense will need to step up, especially after losing Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork for the season. Of course, there’s still hope on the horizon. The Patriots will get Aqib Talib, Tommy Kelly, Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola back. And Gronkowski will get better and the rookies will keep improving. New England is lucky to be 5-2 at this point in the season, but they have plenty of issues, especially on offense, to solve in the final 10 weeks. Have a question for Doug Kyed? Send it to him via Twitter at @DougKyedNESN or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kevin Love: Shoulder injury ‘just a stinger’

Nets’ Joe Johnson would ‘welcome’ a trade

Report: Grizzlies want Kevin Durant in free agency

WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns throws down monster dunk

Dos Anjos: McGregor will 'break like a girl' at UFC 196

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell hit in groin by LeBron pass

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kobe Bryant has great response to Tyronn Lue story

Report: St. Louis Blues no longer interested in Jonathan Drouin

Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Free-agent WR Josh Morgan accidentally shot himself, charged with crime

Seven teams that must target a quarterback in 2016 NFL draft

Fighter says sex before fight partly to blame for loss

Kevin McHale: James Harden being out of shape hurt Rockets early

WATCH: Kevin Love re-injures left shoulder

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker