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Gronk matches another former Patriot with two TDs vs. Falcons

/ by Jake Levin
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To say Rob Gronkowski looks revitalized in his second full season back in the NFL would be an understatement.

The former New England Patriots tight end, who followed Tom Brady to Tampa last offseason after unretiring, has caught four touchdown passes through a game and a half in 2021 -- and that's after catching two for the Buccaneers in their Super Bowl LV victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

In doing so, Gronk has matched another Patriots legend for consecutive games with multiple touchdown receptions by a tight end.

Ben Coates, who spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Patriots, caught two touchdowns in three consecutive games between Week 17 of the 1993 season and the first two weeks in 1994.

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Gronk and Coates, along with Dee Mackey of the 1962 Baltimore Colts, are the only tight ends to catch multiple touchdown passes in a team's first two games of the season. 

Coates was the gold standard for the Patriots at tight end prior to Gronk's arrival, his 50 total touchdowns second in franchise history at the time of his departure after the 1999 season to Stanley Morgan (68); since then, only Gronk (80) has surpassed Coates in team history, while Randy Moss also matched him at 50.

Like Gronk, Coates left the Patriots and won a Super Bowl immediately following his exit, as he was a member of the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl XXXV championship team.

Gronk's four touchdown receptions through two games have already surpassed his total from his final season in New England, when he caught only three.