Tom Brady played a big part in helping the New England Patriots advance past the Houston Texans. So did the Patriots running game, behind 24 carries for 122 rushing yards (5.1 YPA) and two touchdowns.
Rob Gronkowski's role in the win, however, could not have been much smaller. The record-setting tight end left the game roughly seven minutes into the contest, and did not return. It appears he will not return for the remainder of the postseason.
NBC's Pro Football Talk was the first to report the news.
Per source, Rob Gronkowski is done for the rest of the postseason.Re-injured forearm and needs another surgery.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 14, 2013
They've been down this road before, having played five games without the All-Pro tight end earlier this season, and they were without tight end Aaron Hernandez in their previous contest with the Ravens.
That being said, it will be a tough loss to overcome.
Brady's number when targeting Gronkowski are otherworldly; he did not throw a single interception while targeting Gronkowski all season long. Gronkowski led all tight ends with 11 touchdown catches this season.
Can the Patriots continue their postseason ride without Gronk? That remains to be seen, but judging by their ability to score at will without him during the regular season, it should be comforting that the Patriots have experience in this situation.
Here's some more news and analysis from around the AFC East.
New England Patriots
Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston shares his thoughts on the Patriots adjusting to life without Rob Gronkowski...again.
Bleacher Report featured columnist David Daniels wastes no time in previewing the AFC Championship Game with the most important defensive players in the game.
Rich Cimini of ESPN New York keeps us in the loop on the Jets general manager search, which now includes Jerry Angelo, Scott Cohen and Omar Khan.
Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday points out that the next Jets general manager will inherit myriad problems with the salary cap and other areas.
Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News says the Bills offense will be much more exciting and explosive with Doug Marrone as the head coach.
According to Kyle Zamiara of BuffaloBills.com, linebacker Bryan Scott hopes his ability to create turnovers will help him stay in Buffalo.
Andy Kent of MiamiDolphins.com reviews the stellar season of Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless otherwise specified, all quotes are obtained firsthand or via team press releases.
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