There was some tension between the Patriots offense and the Broncos defense heading into last weekend’s game over Denver’s propensity to go low on hits, particularly on hits aimed at Rob Gronkowski. Both sides brought up the point throughout the week, and Gronkowski even threw in a childish joke about “low blows.”

For Denver, though, it had nothing to do with trying to take out Gronk with a cheap shot; it had everything to do with the fact that he’s a 6-foot-6, 270-pound freak of nature that can’t be taken down any other way, even Tom Brady admitted that.

Apparently, from New England’s perspective, it was a lot more personal than that, as Julian Edelman took a clear cheap shot at T.J. Ward‘s knees on this play.

It’s hard to find any other explanation for that hit other than the one where Edelman is attempting to injure Ward — send a message, at least. If it was any other player, maybe you could write it off as a curious football play, but it was Ward, the guy who originally tore Gronkowski’s ACL with a low hit a few seasons back.

And it sure looks like Ward feels the same way. He was very quick to give Edelman the Dikembe Mutombo finger wag.

“No, no, no. Not today.”