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The Latest: Bucs start targeting Gronkowski more often

AP

The Latest on Week 3 in the NFL (all times EDT):

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5 p.m.

Tampa Bay’s Rob Gronkowski joked he was a “blocking tight end” after not seeing many passes come his way last weekend.

So much for that notion. Gronkowski had catches on back-to-back plays for 16 yards in the first quarter against Denver. He entered the game with two catches for 11 yards.

Entering the game, quarterback Tom Brady and Gronkowski have combined for 78 touchdowns in the regular season. They’re one away from tying Dan Marino and Mark Clayton for the fourth-most TD connections in NFL history.

-Pat Graham reporting from Denver

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4:55 p.m.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers became the sixth player in NFL history to throw 400 career TD passes when he hooked up with Mo Alie-Cox for a 1-yard score with 14:13 left in the second quarter.

Rivers’ touchdown pass gave the Colts a 14-7 lead over the New York Jets.

On the Colts’ second series, Rivers passed Hall of Famer Dan Marino for fifth all-time in completions with a 45-yard pass play to Alie-Cox. Rivers now has 4,964 completions, one more than Marino.

Rivers also needs 67 yards to become the sixth player with 60,000 yards passing, too.

-Mike Marot reporting from Indianapolis

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4:53 p.m.

Several members of the Seattle Seahawks either sat on the bench, took a knee or remained in the locker room during the national anthem on Sunday. Among those who sat or knelt were offensive tackle Duane Brown and cornerback Shaquill Griffin.

About 15 players remained in the locker room for the anthem. That group included Jarran Reed, DK Metcalf and Chris Carson.

Seattle safety Jamal Adams stood with a fist raised in the air for the third straight game. Adams stood next to head coach Pete Carroll this week.

-Tim Booth reporting from Seattle

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4:50 p.m.

The Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles entered their matchup winless. They’re both leaving that way as well.

Cincinnati and Philadelphia ended in a 23-all tie after neither team scored in the 15-minute overtime period.

Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. Both of those touchdown passes went to fellow rookie Tee Higgins.__

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4:42 p.m.

Detroit Lions running back Adrian Peterson showed one of his former teams he’s still got it, picking up a season-high 27 yards on his first carry and having 35 yards rushing on the opening drive to set up a field goal at Arizona.

Peterson, who was released by Washington and signed by Detroit just before the season started, has a run of 20-plus yards in each of his three games with the Lions.

The 35-year-old Peterson is in his 14th NFL season. He played six games with Arizona in 2017.

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4:31 p.m.

It took three weeks, but the New York Jets finally have a first-half touchdown.

The Jets trailed 21-3 at halftime each of the first two weeks.

But after the first 18 plays of the game at Indianapolis, Sam Darnold hooked up with Braxton Berrios on a 16-yard score to tie the score at 7 with 5:12 left in the first quarter.

Darnold also threw an interception that was returned 44 yards for a TD by Xavier Rhodes.

The Jets were the only team in the league without a first-half TD.

-Mike Marot reporting from Indianapolis

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4:30 p.m.

The winless Atlanta Falcons suffered a fourth-quarter collapse for the second straight week.

Nick Foles replaced an ineffective Mitch Trubisky and threw three fourth-quarter touchdown passes as the Chicago Bears scored 20 unanswered points in the last 6 ½ minutes to beat the Falcons 30-26.

This came one week after Atlanta lost 30-29 to Dallas despite leading 20-0 in the first quarter and 39-24 with less than five minutes remaining.

Buffalo blew a 28-3 lead over the Los Angeles Rams and fell behind in the fourth quarter before Josh Allen’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Kroft with 15 seconds left gave the Bills a 35-32 victory. Allen threw four touchdown passes and ran for a fifth score as the Bills remained unbeaten.

In Sunday’s other early games, Tennessee edged Minnesota 31-30, New England beat Las Vegas 36-20, Cleveland beat Washington 34-20, San Francisco trounced the New York Giants 36-9 and Pittsburgh defeated Houston 28-21. The Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles are tied 23-all and in overtime.

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4:20 p.m.

Ten members of the Denver Broncos took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before their game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Melvin Gordon III, Calvin Anderson, Lloyd Cushenberry III were among the kneeling Broncos.

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4:02 p.m.

Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich took a knee during the national anthem for the third straight game as his players locked arms.

The Jets also locked arms with only one player, rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton, taking a knee.

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3:20 p.m.

Nick Foles has taken over at quarterback for the Chicago Bears.

The former Super Bowl MVP came on in the third quarter of a game in Atlanta after Mitchell Trubisky threw an interception that set up a field goal, giving the Falcons a 26-10 lead.

Foles guided the Bears down the field for a pass that was initially ruled a touchdown catch by Allen Robinson. But Robinson went to the turf wrestling for control with Darqueze Dennard, who actually snatched it away after they came down.

Referee Jerome Boger overturned the call after reviewing the replay. He said Robinson never had control, ruling it an interception and a touchback.

Trubisky was 13 of 22 for 128 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also had a 45-yard run before he was yanked.

-Paul Newberry reporting from Atlanta

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2:58 p.m.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has made some team history while sparking his team to a 28-3 lead over the Los Angeles Rams early in the second half.

Allen has thrown three touchdown passes and has run for a fourth score in this game. That means he has now accounted for 11 touchdowns, the most by any Bills player through the first three games of a season.

Jim Kelly accounted for 10 touchdowns in Buffalo’s first three games of the 1991 season.

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2:55 p.m.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage won’t be returning for the second half against the Chicago Bears.

Gage went down with a concussion in the first half. After being evaluated, the Falcons ruled him out for the rest of the game, depriving the Falcons of another key player.

The Falcons already are playing without six starters, including star receiver Julio Jones.

-Paul Newberry reporting from Atlanta

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2:35 p.m.

Minnesota Vikings rookie Justin Jefferson is having his breakout game. The first-round draft pick from LSU had six receptions for 104 yards in the first half against Tennessee.

Jefferson totaled just five catches for 70 yards over the first two games as the Vikings offense struggled to find a rhythm. This time, Minnesota has a 17-9 halftime lead.

Jefferson was taken with the 22nd overall selection that was acquired in a trade with Buffalo that sent wide receiver Stefon Diggs to the Bills.

The Minnesota-Tennessee matchup is one of three early games in which a winless team leads an unbeaten team. The others have Atlanta ahead of Chicago 16-10 and Houston leading Pittsburgh 21-17.

-Dave Campbell reporting from Minneapolis.

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2:07 p.m.

Already missing six starters, the Atlanta Falcons have taken another blow in the first half against the Chicago Bears.

Receiver Russell Gage is being evaluated for a possible concussion. His return to the game is questionable.

Gage is one of four Atlanta players who came into the game with at least 100 receiving yards in the first two games. He had 15 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown.

Star receiver Julio Jones is among those who were ruled out by the Falcons before the game. He is dealing with a hamstring injury.

Despite all the injuries and rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell being placed on the COVID-19 reserve list, the winless Falcons lead the unbeaten Bears 16-3 late in the first half.

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2 p.m.

Washington star rookie defensive end Chase Young left Sunday’s game in Cleveland with a groin injury.

Team officials said Young, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, won’t return.

The former Ohio State All-American came into the game tied for the NFL lead with 2 ½ sacks.

It’s not clear when Young got injured. The Browns spent the week preparing to face him and a Washington defense leading the league with 11 sacks.

Jonathan Allen sacked Baker Mayfield in the first quarter for sack No. 12.

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1:50 p.m.

Three NFL teams are allowing paying customers into the stands for Week 3 games today: the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns.

The Broncos are allowing 5,700 fans to watch the Buccaneers’ visit and the Colts are allowing 7,500 fans to attend their game against the Jets.

Fans also were allowed into the Dolphins-Jaguars game on Thursday night.

Out of 48 NFL games so far in 2020, 10 have included paying customers.

Several teams have allowed between 250 and 750 friends and family members of players and coaches to sit in the stands to test COVID-19 protocols for the eventual return of fans.

The Broncos did that for their opener two weeks ago. Another four teams are doing that this weekend: the Vikings, Cardinals and Saints today and the Ravens tomorrow night.

The Broncos allowed 500 family members of players and coaches to watch their opener as a test run for today’s return of fans, who have to wear masks and will be socially distanced in pods of between one and six people.

–Arnie Stapleton reporting from Denver.

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1:38

The Denver Broncos have filled their south stands with cardboard cutouts of the entire town of “South Park” for their game today against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The characters are all masked. T

The Broncos are also allowing 5,700 actual fans to also attend the game.

–Arnie Stapleton reporting from Denver.

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1:35 p.m.

New York Giants safety Jabrill Peppers sprained an ankle trying to block a field goal by San Francisco’s Robbie Gould.

Peppers’ return is questionable

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1:25 p.m.

There was NFL history made away from the action in Cleveland.

Sunday’s game between Washington and the Browns marked the first time two female coaches were on the sideline with a female official on the field.

Jennifer King is in her first season on Washington’s staff, while Callie Brownson is the chief of staff for Browns first-year coach Kevin Stefanski. Sarah Thomas was the down judge. She’s became the league’s first female official in 2015.

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1:15 p.m.

With a 2-yard rush in the first quarter against the Raiders, New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has passed Randall Cunningham and now has the second-most career rushing yards by a quarterback in NFL history.

Michael Vick is first with 6,109 yards.

Newton is also close to another milestone. He rushed for multiple touchdowns in each of New England’s first two games this season.

The Patriots’ single-season record for consecutive games with two or more rushing touchdowns is three by Horace Ivory (1978) and Curtis Martin (1995).

__ Kyle Hightower, reporting from Foxborough, Mass.

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1:12 p.m.

Four Washington players, including quarterback Dwayne Haskins and No. 2 overall pick Chase Young, raised their fists on the sideline while standing for the national anthem in Cleveland.

There were various other forms of expression as the national anthem played at NFL stadiums.

The Buffalo Bills stayed in the locker room for the national anthem. About a dozen Los Aneles Rams knelt, including defensive linemen Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers and Sebastian Joseph-Day kneeling and linking arms at the far end of the sideline. Offensive lineman Bobby Evans was also among the Rams who knelt.

Both teams were on the field for the anthem at the 49ers-Giants game. About half of the Giants kneeled and half stood.

Six Chicago Bears kneeled on the sideline during the national anthem before their game in Atlanta. No one from the Falcons took a knee.

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12:20 p.m.

The Minnesota Vikings are again playing without fans in attendance, but they’ve invited up to 250 staff members and family members for their game against Tennessee to test COVID-19 protocols in preparation for the potential return of fans to home games later this season.

The attendees will be seated in the southwest corner of the lower bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium to replicate a pod seating system, required to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing. Team officials and stadium operators will focus on testing mobile ticketing, stadium entrance and exit procedures, cashless concession stands and other protocols. The Vikings are continuing to work with state and city officials on a plan for bringing a limited number of fans back to the stadium for their remaining home games.

Current Minnesota guidelines prohibit indoor gatherings of more than 250 people.

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