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Tipsheet: Patriots pay big price for piling on

November 20, 2012
Sportsmanship



Patriots coach Bill Belichick enjoys running up the score on beaten opponents, as NFL fans in London saw earlier this season.

For some reason he also uses key offensive weapon Rob Gronkowski to block on extra points. What could possibly go wrong?

Karma reared its judicious head Sunday.

Gronkowski suffered a broken forearm while blocking on Stephen Gostkowski’s conversion with 3:55 left to play. That late score boosted New England's lead over the Colts to 59-24.

The game-changing tight end will miss the next four to six weeks while recovering from surgical repairs.

Why assign the Gronk to this menial duty?

“I don't think there are any quicker ways to lose a game than getting a kick blocked and run back for a touchdown,” Belichick told New England reporters. “Whoever does it, it's a very important job in the game.”

Can anybody recall the last time a team blocked an extra point and returned it for a game-winning touchdown? Anybody?

Boston Herald columnist Ron Borges made this point:

The Patriots lost arguably their second-most valuable player behind quarterback Tom Brady for a month or more on a meaningless play at the end of a blowout, not because he should have been lifted at that point, but because employing a player of that magnitude on special teams is tempting fate, especially considering Gronkowski has been hurt in one form or another since late last season.

With the Gronk sidelined, former Rams tight ends Daniel Fells and “Illinois MikeHoomanawanui could play a bigger role in the Patriots offense. Tight end Aaron Hernandezremains hobbled by a lingering ankle injury and former Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe is still getting acclimated after coming off of the injured reserve list.

“When somebody goes down, especially a player of that caliber, it’s unfortunate, but the Jets aren’t going to wait on us. So we have to get everyone else ready to play,” Hoomanawanui told the Herald. “We’ve got a lot of guys who have played a lot of football before, so we’ll be fine and we’ll be ready to go Thursday night.”

Will Belichick assign Wes Welker to fill the Gronk's kick-blocking void?

Originally published on November 20, 2012 by Jeff Gordon of stltoday.com.


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