When Rob Gronkowski chose to end his retirement to join Tom Brady with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, some expected the duo to pick up right where they left off with the New England Patriots. But things just aren’t that simple in the NFL.
Yes, it’s true that TB12 and Gronk have had great chemistry over the years. That’s what happens when you spend nine seasons together. But through the Bucs’ first five games in 2020, that chemistry hadn’t really shone through. Both are still adjusting to a new offense in a new city and the comfortability that helped the duo win three Super Bowls together just didn’t seem to be there.
While Tom Brady has been solid in his first season in Tampa, Rob Gronkowski really hadn’t been that involved in the offense. That all changed on Sunday in the Buccaneers’ 38-10 romp of the Green Bay Packers and the rest of the NFL should be terrified.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski played nine seasons together with the New England Patriots
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski spent nine seasons together with the New England Patriots and were one of the most dangerous duos in the NFL. During their run with the Patriots, the two won three Super Bowls together, the last coming in Gronk’s final year in New England two seasons ago.
Of the 77 different Patriots receivers that caught a touchdown pass from Tom Brady in the regular season during TB12’s 20-year-run in New England, Rob Gronkowski caught the most with 78 and also added an additional 12 in the postseason. So the two certainly know how to connect.
Gronk had only caught 12 passes through his first five games with the Buccaneers
As mentioned, Rob Gronkowski wasn’t a major part of the Buccaneers’ offense through the first five games. Perhaps Tom Brady was wanting to develop some chemistry with his new weapons. Or maybe Gronk just wasn’t feeling comfortable in the new scheme. But whatever the reason, Gronk just wasn’t producing in a way to which we became accustomed for all those years.
In the Bucs’ season opener against the Saints, Rob Gronkowski was targeted just three times and caught two passes for 11 yards. The following week against the Panthers, Tom Brady only threw one ball his way and didn’t connect. Things got better in Week 3 against the Broncos when Gronk caught six passes for 48 yards. But he then caught just one pass in Week 4 against the Chargers.
In Week 5 against the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football, Tom Brady targeted Rob Gronkowski six times but completed just half of those passes. Gronk had just 12 catches through the team’s first five games and hadn’t found the end zone. That changed on Sunday.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski looked fantastic in the Bucs’ 38-10 romp over the Packers
If Sunday’s game between the Buccaneers and Packers is any indication on how Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski will be perform together moving forward, the rest of the NFL is in trouble. For the first time as Buccaneers, Brady and Gronk were truly on the same page and looked like the dangerous duo that Tampa Bay fans were hoping for.
While the Tampa Bay defense certainly deserves a ton of credit for stifling Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense, Brady and Gronk certainly had a hand in the Bucs’ 38-10 win. Gronkowski looked extremely comfortable on Sunday and caught five passes for a season-high 78 yards, including his first touchdown in a Buccaneers uniform and his first touchdown in 679 days.
Combining the regular season and playoffs, that was the 91st time that Brady and Gronkowski connected for a touchdown. That’s the third-most by any quarterback-receiver combo in NFL history behind only Peyton Manning & Marvin Harrison (114) and Steve Young & Jerry Rice (92).
Tom Brady already has a ton of weapons in Tampa Bay. And if Rob Gronkowski is inching back toward his All-Pro form, the Buccaneers are going to be extremely dangerous.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference