Rob Gronkowski apologizes to Tre'Davious White for late hit; Bills condemn 'dirty play'

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde was surprised New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was not ejected for a fourth-quarter hit Sunday on Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White that resulted in the rookie first-round pick being placed in the concussion protocol.

Gronkowski, who was penalized for unnecessary roughness, apologized for the hit after the game.

"I don't believe in shots like that," Gronkowski said. "I'm not in the business of that. It was a lot of frustration. At that moment, it happened naturally through emotions and frustration."

White intercepted Brady on a deep pass down the right sideline with less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, lying face-down on the ground to secure the ball. Gronkowski then ran toward White and dove into him, driving his arm into the back of White's helmet. Trainers assisted White to the sideline and, later, to the locker room.

In explaining the source of his frustration, Gronkowski said he thought White should have been called for defensive pass interference.

"At the top of the route, it felt like it was a big hole at the top, and then the throw was definitely, I mean, I felt like he kind of pushed me a little bit and made the play," Gronkowski said. "I just don't understand why there wasn't a flag."

Gronkowski also cited an offensive pass interference call that went against him in the first half.

"It was a couple times in the game, and they're calling me for the craziest stuff ever," he said. "And it's crazy, like, what am I supposed to do? And then they don't call that [on White]. It was just frustration, and that's what happened."

"That's a dirty play, man," Hyde said of Gronkowski's late hit. "That's not cool. It's amazing to me that you don't get ejected for something like that. It's crazy. He obviously saw him on the ground. It's like a wrestling move. I don't know -- elbow, shoulder -- I don't know what it was. I saw on the replay it was just a dirty play, man. That's something the NFL talks about all the time about not wanting. If the refs didn't see it live, they had a good chance to see it on the replay. Just a dirty play.

"Just touch him. Put your foot on him. Tackle him. You don't need to drive your shoulder or elbow into him. That wasn't cool. Obviously, the game was already -- it was a pretty big margin at that time. There was just no need for that in the game we play."

Gronkowski led Patriots receivers with nine catches for 147 yards. The Patriots won the game 23-3 and host the Bills again Dec. 24 at Gillette Stadium.

"It was a dirty play, apology or not," Hyde said. "We'll see him again in a few weeks. You guys will make this a story. I've been a part of plenty of games, whatever sport it might be. There's been dirty plays. Just got to put it past you."

Bills coach Sean McDermott said after the game that he was "not happy" with Gronkowski's hit and there was "no place in the game" for it.

"I'm sure the league office is going to have something to say about it," guard Richie Incognito said.

Asked if he is concerned about potential additional discipline for Gronkowski, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said, "I didn't really see what happened on the whole play. There was quite a bit of stuff going on on that play. It's something the officials handled today. It's not something we have any control over."

The flag against Gronkowski was one of four penalties on the play. Hyde and Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola were both called for unnecessary roughness for a separate altercation, and Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for his behavior toward officials. The Bills began their next drive with a first-and-25.

"After the play, I was asking the ref, like, what did I do?" Hyde said of his penalty. "I just got no explanation. The play was over. [Amendola] felt like I was holding him. Even if I was, the play was after, and he comes charging at me, and I was just there to push back because he was running at me. I got no explanation. I'm confused on the whole play."

ESPN Patriots reporter Mike Reiss contributed to this report.