Patriots

Bedard’s Breakdown: If Bills were any indication, opponents no longer fear Gronkowski

(Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

There's been a lot of talk recently about Rob Gronkowski.

I praised his all-around skills with his blocking against the Chiefs. The following week against the Bears, he had back spasms and didn't make the trip. Then, on Monday night against the Bills, he had just three catches on eight targets.

All of the chatter has been warranted. A fully healthy Gronkowski arguably represents the greatest separation at any position from the rest of the pack. Basically, the distance between him and the rest of the league's good tight ends is larger than, say, Tom Brady and the rest of the quarterbacks and even James White and other top pass-catching running backs.

The operative words: when healthy.

It's obvious Gronkowski is not completely healthy, or even close to it. We'll get into some of my thoughts on that in a second, but we'll start with my biggest takeaway from the Buffalo game (aside from the fact the Bills' defense is really good and playing faster by the week): If the way Buffalo covered Gronkowski is any indication (and it might not be), then teams are no longer all that concerned about the tight end.

The Bills double-teamed Gronkowski just twice in this game. He also wasn't jammed that much coming off the line. Most of the time, when you combine those two things and add the fact it was against Buffalo in Buffalo — Gronk dominates in his hometown — you get a Gronk Domination game.

Instead, it was just a whimper.

So what's going on with the Big Fella? And do I think this will last the rest of the season?