Rob Gronkowski sets Patriots record for touchdowns

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski set the franchise record for touchdowns on Sunday, catching a 53-yard scoring pass in the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills to give him 69 for his career.

Gronkowski, in his seventh NFL season, broke a tie with wide receiver Stanley Morgan, who played for the Patriots from 1977 to 1989.

Gronkowski finished Sunday's 41-25 Patriots victory over the Bills with five receptions for 109 yards and the touchdown.

Gronkowski said he received a phone call in the locker room from Morgan after the game to congratulate him.

"He was an awesome player and an awesome guy. It was pretty cool. To get a phone call from him already right after the game was something special," Gronkowski said, adding that to break the record close to where he grew up in Western New York also made it a memorable day for him.

Gronkowski said he didn't know much about Morgan as a player.

"It would be a great honor to meet him in person and study up on his game and see what he's all about. I'm going to be looking forward to that," he said.

Last Sunday, after tying the record in a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Gronkowski said he looked forward to attaining the record. Four days later, he downplayed the possibility, saying, "That's the last thing I'm thinking about right now."

Gronkowski has 68 career receiving touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. Of the 68 touchdown passes, 67 have come from quarterback Tom Brady. (Jimmy Garoppolo threw the other in 2014.)

The next-closest touchdown connection in team history is Drew Bledsoe to tight end Ben Coates; they had 45.

The record-breaking touchdown against the Bills, on a play up the right seam, gave the Patriots a 21-10 lead.