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Rob Gronkowski catches TD in return as Patriots pound Texans

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Dilfer: Gronk's presence a major factor in Patriots' success (0:55)

Trent Dilfer breaks down the importance of TE Rob Gronkowski being on the field for the Patriots, saying "There's six eyes on Gronk on every play. That means there's six eyes that aren't on somebody else." (0:55)

New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski was active and in the starting lineup Sunday night against Houston Texans after missing last week's game with a sprained knee.

Gronkowski, who had been listed as questionable, made an immediate impact in his return, hauling in a 45-yard reception in the first quarter and making a leaping 1-yard touchdown catch with 14 seconds left before halftime. He finished with four catches for 87 yards in the Patriots' 27-6 win.

Gronkowski didn't go through any formal pregame test on the field with the athletic training staff or medical staff but was wearing a brace over his right knee during warm-ups. He returned to practice Thursday for the first time since injuring the knee on Nov. 29 against the Denver Broncos.

With the win, the Patriots avoided their first three-game losing streak since 2002.