- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A slow start to the 2013 regular season had many wondering if the turnover in offensive personnel would be just too much for the Patriots to overcome.
Six games into the season, the Patriots were 22nd in the NFL in scoring; no team in the NFL scored more points than the Patriots during the 2012 season, which ended in a near trip to the Super Bowl.
But that all changed when tight end Rob Gronkowski returned to the lineup, as he came back in Week 7 after missing extended time in his recovery from offseason back and forearm surgeries.
In the six games following his return, the Patriots skyrocketed to sixth in the NFL in scoring, including racking up the second-most points in the league during that time. Gronkowski racked up 37 catches, 560 yards and four touchdowns, looking perhaps as mobile and athletic as ever.
The optimism surrounding his return was squashed on Sunday when Gronkowski took a hit to his right leg in the third quarter of New England's 27-26 win against the Cleveland Browns, immediately falling to the ground in substantial pain. An MRI on Monday revealed a torn ACL and MCL.
How will New England's offense look with Gronkowski out?
Here's a look at the offense both with and without its dynamic tight end.
The Patriots have been less reliant on two-tight end sets this season with Aaron Hernandez no longer a member of the organization, but a theme that has persisted from 2012 with Gronkowski on the field is an ability to rely on an up-tempo attack.