Patriots

Game-changing tight ends propel Patriots

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Game-changing tight ends propel Patriots

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez combined for 261 total yards and four touchdowns in Saturday night's 45-10 playoff win over the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium.

Gronkowski was catching passes. Hernandez was doing the same, plus, rushing the football like a running back.

Needless to say, the Patriots are getting the most out of their pair of young, versatile, and athletic tight ends.

Their production is so astounding, it has Patriots veteran offensive lineman Brian Waters thinking that they've changed the offensive game in the NFL.

If you decide to take away one, that opens things up for the other," said Waters after Saturday's win. "You add the fact that we have receiving threats and some good guys at the running back position. It limits the things you can do defensively as far as trying to take one person out of the game. Thats something that we are able to take advantage of.

Ill tell you what, these two Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski are changing the game," added Waters. "I think that youre going to see tight ends get drafted that would have been fourth or fifth round picks will probably be drafted higher because of what these guys are able to do. Youre going to see other teams try to match guys with their receiving tight ends by trying to match them with a guy that can do some of the things that our tight ends can do. So I think these two are changing the game.

Bill Belichick was also asked if he's ever seen a pair of tight ends this good, and had to go back in time.

"Honestly there wasnt a lot of two-tight ends in the mid-70s, there really wasnt," said Belichick after Saturday's win. "There was one tight end in the game and occasionally teams used two tight ends in short-yardage, but thats kind of where the two tight ends and one back. And then Don Coryell and San Diego and so forth, it became a little more prevalent. But when we had Charlie Sanders and David Hill at Detroit, those two guys were pretty good.

"Rob and Aaron have both done a good job for us," said Belichick. "They complement each other well, they compete well with each other, they push each other and theyve been very productive for us. They both do a great job. Were fortunate to have them."

Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended game for shoving official

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Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended game for shoving official

NEW YORK - Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended for one game without pay by the NFL on Friday for shoving a game official during the Raiders' victory over Kansas City on Thursday night.

Lynch was ejected from the game after he shoved line judge Julian Mapp.

The scuffle started when Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was hit late on a run by Kansas City's Marcus Peters midway through the second quarter. Raiders offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn immediately confronted Peters, and Lynch sprinted onto the field from the bench to join the fray. Mapp tried to break up the fight, but Lynch pushed him and grabbed his jersey. Lynch also got a personal foul.

NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote a letter to Lynch, saying:

"You made deliberate physical contact with one of our game officials as he was diffusing an active confrontation between players. You were disqualified for your inappropriate and unsportsmanlike actions. Your conduct included pushing the game official and grabbing his jersey. ... You were not directly involved in the active confrontation that the game official was attempting to diffuse, nor were you a participant in the play that initiated the confrontation. You were the only player from either team who ran from the sideline to midfield to insert himself into a situation in which he was not directly involved."

Lynch will be eligible to return to Oakland's active roster on Oct. 30, the day after the Raiders' game against the Buffalo Bills.

Lynch finished the game with two carries for 9 yards.

The Raiders rallied to win 31-30 on a touchdown pass by Carr on the final play, and Lynch was in the locker room after the game congratulating his teammates.

Lynch came out of retirement this season and was traded from Seattle to the Raiders. Lynch said he wanted to make a comeback so he could give something back to his hometown of Oakland before the Raiders move to Las Vegas in 2020.

Lynch has rushed for 266 yards and two touchdowns in seven games.

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