New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski believes he was held on the last play of a Monday Night Football matchup against the Carolina Panthers, but he was unwilling to place blame on the officials for the loss when he spoke to the media after the game.
While Gronkowski admitted that he felt he was held by Panthers second-year linebacker Luke Kuechly on the final play of the game, he told Field Yates of ESPN Boston that the game can't be boiled down to a single play:
"It is how it is now, and they took the call back and can't do anything about it," Gronkowski said. "And that's not when the game is [won] and [lost]. They're a very good team, they played tough all four quarters."
Gronkowski, 24, finished the game with five receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown, including a 23-yard reception on a fourth down with less than a minute remaining to keep the Patriots' chances alive. With just three seconds left, Brady looked to the end zone where Gronkowski was covered by Kuechly.
While the pass came up short of the 6'6 tight end and was intercepted by safety Robert Lester, a flag thrown from the back of the end zone appeared to give the Patriots a pass interference penalty that would set up the team for one final chance at a come-from-behind victory.
"When they threw the flag, that's what I thought it was going to be. And it was waved off, so I can't do anything about it."
Gronkowski has 24 receptions for 343 yards and two touchdowns in four games since returning from offseason back and forearm surgeries.