Ravens free safety Will Hill knew the football was coming his way when he lined up across from New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski in the red zone.
However, Hill was unable to prevent Gronkowski from utilizing his imposing 6-foot-6, 265-pound frame to quickly gain a position of strength and a sound angle for quarterback Tom Brady to deliver the football to him in the third quarter.
When Gronkowski scored on a 5-yard touchdown, it brought his team to within one possession, trailing, 28-21. The Ravens later surrendered a two-touchdown lead for the second time in the game — an eventual 35-31 loss.
Gronkowski caught seven passes for a game-high 108 yards while being targeted 13 times, clearly winning the matchup against the Ravens secondary despite Hill's opinion to the contrary. Gronkowski also exploited some one-on-one matchups against rookie inside linebacker C.J. Mosley for some of his production.
"I believe I got the better of him throughout the day," Hill said. "When we were on the field, I was able to get hands on him. When we were in man coverage, they didn't throw to him except for that one time on the goal line."
An All-Pro selection, Gronkowski caught 82 passes for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns during the regular season.
"We just stuck together as a team and took it one play at a time," Gronkowski said. "We knew we couldn't put up two touchdowns in one play, so we just stuck together, got first downs and we came through."