Belichick likened the loss to the ones they suffered earlier in the campaign when defensive captains Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo were sidelined, but he did point out that they had previously had to cope without Gronkowski when he missed the first six games of the season through injury.
"I don't think too many teams have players of that calibre at any position to put in another Rob or another Vince Wilfork or another Jerod Mayo," ESPN quotes Belichick as saying.
"Whoever is in there is going to have to fulfill some of those duties, but it may expand to more people, like we ended up having to do [on Sunday] offensively. More four-receiver sets, three receivers and a tight end, or something like that. Or it might result in the tight ends getting more plays, or some combination thereof.
"However that may be, it may change from game to game. Obviously we, unfortunately, had to play without Rob for [six] games at the beginning of the season. We may be in that situation again. We dealt with that already this year."
The Patriots are currently top of the AFC East and would clinch a spot in the playoffs with a win against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.