Rob Gronkowski gets steady diet of touchdown passes as Pats roll

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Rob Gronkowski had joked Friday that he wanted some of Tom Brady's biscuits from Thanksgiving Day, but Brady told him they were so good that there simply weren't any left.

So Brady fed Gronkowski something even better Sunday: a steady diet of touchdown passes.

It wasn't necessarily a vintage Gronkowski light-up-the-stat-sheet performance, but on a day of sloppy football with little flow -- and with players departing with injuries at an alarming rate -- the New England Patriots leaned on an old reliable to help pull them through in a 35-17 win over the Miami Dolphins.

Gronkowski (five receptions, 82 yards) caught two touchdown passes from Brady and broke the Patriots' record for multiple-touchdown games in a career with 16. Gronkowski entered the day tied with wide receiver Randy Moss.

"I guess those were the biscuits," Gronkowski said after the game. "I guess he wasn't making any more, so he made up for it. But I still want those biscuits."

Brady, playing along, said: "I've got to do that for him because he wants it. Anything he wants I usually try to get for him, so anything to keep him happy. He did such a great job."

After Gronkowski's second scoring play, a 15-yard grab early in the third quarter, the Patriots came as close to having a choreographed celebration as they've had all season. Gronkowski pointed in the direction of receiver Danny Amendola in the end zone, and with Amendola swiping his left foot across the turf as if to clear a clean spot for Gronkowski, the excitable tight end spiked the football into the end zone with force.

Gronkowski's effort also included impressive blocking at the line of scrimmage, especially as the Patriots were closing out the game in the fourth quarter. Running back Dion Lewis' 25-yard run on third-and-1 came over the left side, where Gronkowski was handling rookie defensive end Charles Harris. Gronkowski pumped his right fist at the tail end of the play. Two snaps later, receiver Brandin Cooks surged into the end zone on a 5-yard scoring play with Gronkowski easily clearing out an overmatched defensive back to the sideline to create the open path.

It wasn't the first time Gronkowski led the way for Cooks in a game this season, just a reminder of Gronkowski's standing as a complete tight end -- a force as a pass-catcher but also a strong blocker. Cooks jumped on his back after the score and, pretending he had a whip, made it appear he was riding Gronkowski as if he were a race horse.

That sparked a smile from Gronkowski after the game.

"It wasn't planned or anything. We got yelled at," he revealed. "We're not allowed to talk about celebrations, but I kind of want to talk about it -- but I kind of don't because I'll get in trouble, so I don't know what to do. It just happened on the spot. We'll keep it there."

Brady and Gronkowski have now combined for 74 career touchdowns, which is the second-highest total for any quarterback/tight end connection behind Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates (85). Gronkowski also moved himself into the top 10 all time for receiving yards by a tight end.

Now next Sunday, Gronkowski returns to his western New York roots for the Patriots' road game against the Buffalo Bills, their closest contender in the AFC East. Gronkowski has 46 catches for 701 yards and seven touchdowns on the season.

"He's played hard all season [and] done a great job for our team," Brady said.