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Monday, November 19, 2012
Stats focus: What losing Gronk means

By ESPN Stats & Information

Here are five more stats that demonstrate how much the Patriots are going to miss Rob Gronkowski:

1. Since his rookie season in 2010, Gronkowski leads the NFL with 37 TD receptions. Calvin Johnson is in second place with 31. With his ninth and 10th TD receptions of the 2012 season on Sunday (prior to his injury), Gronkowski became the first tight end in NFL history to record 3 straight seasons with double-digit TD receptions.

2. Tom Brady has fallen in love with his tight ends since the Patriots selected Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski in the 2010 NFL draft. Since the 2010 season, the Patriots have had 54 TD receptions from their tight ends. The Saints are a distant second place with 31.

3. Gronkowski's 37 career TD receptions are the third-most by any player in NFL history in his first 3 seasons. The all-time record of 43 by Randy Moss was within reach, as the Patriots have 6 games remaining in the regular season. Gronk is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, according to reports.

4. NEXT LEVEL: In 2010 and 2011, when Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were (relatively) healthy and playing almost all the time, the Patriots went from a multiple-TE formation on 1,506 out of 2,068 offensive plays -- which comes to whopping 72.8 percent of their plays from scrimmage, by far the highest percentage in the NFL. With Hernandez missing 6 of the Patriots' 10 games so far this season, that percentage has dropped to 44.1 percent (seventh in the NFL) and figures to stay around that number with Hernandez expected to return this week but Gronkowski now down for the next few games.

5. Gronkowski's injury means Tom Brady loses his favorite end zone target. Brady is completing 67 percent of his throws to Gronkowski in the end zone the last two seasons and just 29 percent to all other Patriots.

On Sunday, Gronkowski caught all seven targets for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Gronkowski caught his only end zone target, his fourth straight game with a touchdown on a pass into the end zone. Brady is 5-for-7 targeting Gronkowski in the end zone in his last four games.