Obviously, the biggest story to come out of Sunday's 59-24 win over the Colts wasn't the margin of victory but the loss of tight end Rob Gronkowski, he suffered a broken arm while blocking during an extra point for the Patriots' 59th point.
The injury led to all sorts of speculation about why in the name of all that's holy coach Bill Belichick would have Gronkowski still in the game. Great question. Except that Belichick has always done that -- put his best players on special teams, even if that means double-duty for offensive or defensive starters. It's also why Belichick had quarterback Tom Brady throwing passes well into the fourth quarter when common sense would dictate that Brady should've been on the bench surrounded by a security detail guaranteeing his safety.
Because it's one thing to lose Gronk, one of New England's best players. It's something else entirely to lose Brady. Because if he goes down, the Pats season goes with him.
After Sunday's game, CSNNewEngland.com's Ron Borges echoed the issues of most fans: Gronk had no business blocking on extra points.
“I’ve never understood some of these decisions that get made, to use some of these guys on special teams,” Borges said. “Why are you doing this? I don’t get it. … I’ve never understood it. It’s very head-scratching. If it were me I wouldn’t have him on extra points, period.”
Borges, you might remember, is the same guy who lambasted Belichick in the days following the 2001 draft because the Pats took Richard Seymour.
“On a day when they could have had impact players David Terrell or Koren Robinson or the second best tackle in the draft Kenyatta Walker, they took Georgia defensive tackle Richard Seymour who had 1 1/2 sacks last year in the pass-happy SEC, and is too tall to play tackle at 6-6 and too slow to play defensive end," Borges wrote at the time. "This genius move was followed by trading out of a spot where they could have gotten the last decent receiver in the draft Robert Ferguson and settled for tackle Matt Light, who will not help any time soon.”
My heavens. Borges couldn't have been more wrong about … well, everything.
That said, he's on firmer ground with his recent remarks on Gronk. There's a fair case to be made that not only should Gronkowski not be on the extra point block team, he should've been on the bench because the Pats were about to go up by five touchdowns.
But as ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith wrote Monday, "Belichick doesn’t care about my opinion, Borges’ opinion or any other opinion. He has always had an unusual approach to blowouts, in that he’d rather step on the opponent’s throat than pull his starters and give his second-stringers some live game action. That’s his right, and even Gronkowski’s injury probably isn’t going to change his mind."
And that's the takeaway.
That, and Belichick usually has impeccably crafted contingency plans (see all the tight ends he stockpiled in recent weeks and months), and oh yeah, he also has three Super Bowl rings.
We're not saying Belichick's infallible, but we're willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.