New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski long absence from the end zone finally came to an end Sunday.
Gronkowski, who last scored in Week 1, hauled in a 34-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady late in the first quarter and capped it off with an emphatic spike in the end zone.
"It feels good, but what feels better is getting that win," Gronkowski told reporters after the game. "Just scoring on that one drive was just contributing to what we were trying to do and that was just get the W."
With the Patriots facing a third-and-12 on the Jets' 34-yard liner, Gronkowski ran down the middle of the field and got between linebacker Avery Williamson and cornerback Morris Claiborne inside the 10-yard line.
Brady spotted the opening and unleashed a deep pass, which Gronkowski snatched out of the air at the 2-yard line before tumbling into the end zone over Claiborne for a touchdown.
"I saw him get by the middle linebacker and I saw the corner squeeze in and I threw it," Brady said. "I didn't really see the end of the play. I heard the cheering. I was sure if [the Jets] intercepted it or if we made the play. I was so happy Gronk made it. What a great play for him. He's a great player for us."
The connection was also a product of the trust between quarterback and receiver.
"I think those are certain ones where Gronk is probably the only tight end in the league that can make that play," Brady said. "He played a great game."
Gronkowski finished the matchup with three catches for 56 yards and the touchdown on seven targets, and the score topped off a triumphant return to action after he missed the past two games with ankle and back injuries.
"I feel good," he said. "It was a lot of hard work to get to where I am, so now I just have to keep it going."
With a healthy Gronkowski and running back Sony Michel, the Patriots put together a complete game with 498 yards of total offense, 218 yards coming on the ground led by Michel's 133 yards.
Sunday's win has the Patriots sitting on an 8-3 record and atop the AFC East with five games remaining on the schedule, and Gronkowski put the league on notice he hasn't forgotten how to get in the end zone.