Rob Gronkowski misses just one snap; groin injury doesn't slow him down

Rob Gronkowski caught eight passes for 89 yards and a touchdown against the Texans. Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski's groin injury didn’t stop him from playing 64 of a possible 65 offensive snaps in Sunday’s 36-33 win over the Houston Texans.

But that’s not to say it didn’t take him a lot of hard work to get to that point.

“It wasn’t 100 percent, I would probably say, until the game,” Gronkowski said. “You have to work it through rehab and practice and everything. I knew it was going to be good. That’s why I said this week, ‘I’ll be good.’”

Gronkowski was better than that, totaling eight catches for 89 yards with a touchdown. He was particularly impressive on the team’s game-winning touchdown drive when he powered forward on third-and-12 to pick up the first down on a 15-yard catch-and-run reception. That was a big play in the comeback.

Gronkowski leads off this week’s snap-count analysis:

Offensive snaps: 65

Defensive snaps: 71


Rob Gronkowski – 64

Dwayne Allen – 17

Jacob Hollister - 7

Nate Solder – 1

The lone snap Gronkowski didn’t play came in the first half, on a third-and-4 play, when the Patriots had four receivers and a running back on the field. Allen is still trying to find his groove, while Hollister showed impressive toughness to hang on while taking a big hit in the third quarter.


Chris Hogan – 59

Brandin Cooks – 58

Danny Amendola – 32

Phillip Dorsett – 7

Amendola was back in the No. 3 role after missing the team’s Week 2 win over the Saints with a concussion, which meant Dorsett (knee/questionable) slipped to the No. 4 spot. It was telling that when the Patriots faced third-and-18 on the game-winning drive, it was Amendola who was the target. He’s earned that trust.


James White – 32

Mike Gillislee – 21

Dion Lewis – 12

With Rex Burkhead (ribs) inactive, it led to a slight uptick for Lewis, but otherwise, not a huge change at this spot.


James Develin – 15

The Patriots passed nine times and ran it five times when Develin was on the field (one snap unaccounted for), as this wasn’t a game in which Develin was utilized as a powerful lead-blocker.


RT LaAdrian Waddle – 65

RG Shaq Mason – 65

C David Andrews – 65

LG Joe Thuney -- 65

LT Nate Solder – 63

LT Cameron Fleming – 2

Solder began the game as the third tight end/eligible receiver, and by rule, he has to come out of the game for one play before returning to his non-eligible position on the offensive line. Waddle, in a bit of a surprise, earned the start over Fleming.


Tom Brady -- 65

A stellar comeback drive.


Malcolm Butler – 71

Stephon Gilmore – 60

Jonathan Jones – 42

After slipping to No. 3 on the depth chart in Week 2 at New Orleans, Butler was back in the top-2 mix and didn’t miss a snap. As always, he competes at the highest level. After the game, Butler called Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson an up-and-coming Cam Newton.


Lawrence Guy – 51

Malcom Brown – 46

Adam Butler – 46

Alan Branch – 21

These four players were at the heart of the line of scrimmage on the third-and-1 stop that gave the ball back to Brady for the game-winning drive. That was part of the three-cornerback goal-line package that was similar to what the Patriots called in Super Bowl XLIX. Perhaps the play is a catalyst for Branch, who hasn’t been playing as much early this season, to return to playing more snaps.


Trey Flowers – 68

Deatrich Wise Jr. – 34

Cassius Marsh – 31

Flowers seemed like he was battling through some type of leg injury. That could lead to him being added to the injury report this week.


Kyle Van Noy – 71

Elandon Roberts – 57

David Harris – 4

Marquis Flowers – 2

Van Noy hasn’t missed a snap this season (he had a costly breakdown along the sideline on running back D’Onta Foreman’s 31-yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter), while Roberts has elevated to the No. 2 spot. Harris’ niche role is to come on to the field when the opposition gets close to the 10-yard line, while Flowers’ two snaps came in the base 4-3 alignment.


Devin McCourty – 71

Patrick Chung – 52

Duron Harmon – 50

Jordan Richards -- 3

Gronkowski -- 1

Chung’s playing time was down after he seemed to struggle in Week 2 in New Orleans. He was used in a specific matchup as the Patriots sometimes used a McCourty-Harmon combination. Gronkowski's snap came on the Texans' final Hail Mary attempt.