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201911
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Baseball tiebreaker games now a thing of the past

If baseball's new tiebreaker rules had been in place years ago, Bucky Dent and Bobby Thomson probably wouldn't be household names.

With the postseason expanding to 12 teams this year, if two teams end up deadlocked for a division title or playoff spot, there will no longer be a one-game playoff to break those ties. Instead, head-to-head record from the regular season is used to determine the winner — with other tiebreakers possible if head-to-head can't separate the teams.

The new system made for a suspenseful weekend in Atlanta as the Braves and New York Mets jockeyed not only for first place in the NL East, but for supremacy in their season series. Atlanta swept three games from the Mets to take a two-game lead in the division — and edge New York 10-9 in 19 head-to-head matchups.

So the Braves are now in a commanding position to win the division and knock New York down to a wild card. Atlanta has a two-game lead with three to play — and would still be the NL East champ if the teams end up even.

It's a similar situation in the race for the final wild card in the National League. Philadelphia leads Milwaukee by two games with three to play, but the fact that the Phillies hold the tiebreaker makes them an even heavier favorite to hold on.

“It does work into our favor,” Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson said. “The rules are the rules. If I were on the flip side of this, it would be a little tough to take, to tell you the truth.”

Eliminating tiebreaker games removes some of the scheduling uncertainty between the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason, but it also takes away the drama of one game with everything on the line. If the Brewers and Phillies finish tied, they won't face each other for the right to make the playoffs. Instead, that will be determined by games they played against each other in April and June.

It's anticlimactic compared to Dent's home run, which helped the New York Yankees defeat Boston in a one-game playoff for the 1978 AL East title. In 1951, the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers tied for first in the National League. A best-of-three playoff broke that deadlock, with Thomson hitting a pennant-winning homer for the Giants.

Still, there are arguments in favor of the new rules that go beyond scheduling convenience. If two teams finish tied, what's a better way to separate them — using one game at the end of the season, or a bunch of games they played against each other already?

“You don’t have to have an individual game to decide it,” Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson said before his team secured the tiebreaker over the Mets. “If it’s an in-division opponent, you’ve played them 15 to 20 times or whatever, so kind of let that be the determining factor for who deserves the nod.”

TRIVIA TIME

If those 1951 and 1978 races had been decided with head-to-head tiebreakers, who would have won?

LINE OF THE WEEK

Another phenomenal season for Shohei Ohtani is drawing to a close, and he is still making the most of his opportunities to amaze. On Thursday night, Ohtani took a no-hitter into the eighth inning as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 4-2.

Ohtani ended up allowing two hits and striking out 10 in eight scoreless innings. He also extended his hitting streak to 14 games that night.

COMEBACK OF THE WEEK

Although the week ended in a sour fashion for the Mets, it could have gone even worse. They trailed the Miami Marlins 4-0 in the seventh inning Wednesday night when Eduardo Escobar rallied them.

Escobar hit a two-run homer in the seventh, a two-run single in the eighth and a single in the 10th that gave New York a 5-4 victory.

TRIVIA ANSWER

The Dodgers would have won the 1951 pennant by virtue of a 13-9 record against the Giants, and the Yankees would have won the AL East in 1978 by going 8-7 against the Red Sox.

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AP Sports Writers Howard Fendrich and George Henry contributed to this report.

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Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister

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High-profile QBs on new teams had another rough week

High-profile quarterbacks on new teams had a rough week.

Russell Wilson finally got Denver’s offense moving, but the Broncos lost to Las Vegas 32-23.

Matt Ryan had another turnover-filled game for Indianapolis in a 24-17 home loss to Tennessee.

Carson Wentz tossed two interceptions in Washington’s 25-10 loss at Dallas.

Baker Mayfield struggled again in Carolina’s 26-16 home loss to Arizona.

There’s a long way to go in the season, but the early results are dismal. The four QBs are 5-10-1 combined.

Only Wilson doesn’t have a losing record at 2-2. He also had the best day among the group, posting a 124.9 passer rating and leading the Broncos to a season-high in points.

The Broncos traded a slew of picks and gave Wilson a $245 million contract extension to turn them into a Super Bowl contender. For this season, they’ll be fortunate to compete for a wild-card spot in the loaded AFC.

Wilson is adjusting to a new team with a rookie coach who has made several questionable decisions already. No need to second-guess Nathaniel Hackett against the Raiders. Missed opportunities and a costly fumble hurt Denver.

“That third quarter, we kind of hurt ourselves,” Wilson said. “That’s the game, I think.”

Wilson and Ryan have quick turnarounds. They’ll meet Thursday night when the Colts (1-2-1) visit Denver.

“What a big opportunity to respond,” Wilson said. “That’s what championship-type teams do. We’ve got to respond. We’ve got to battle. We’ve got to overcome obstacles. We’ve got to be battle-tested and be able to respond in a great way.”

The Colts jettisoned Wentz after he threw 27 touchdowns passes and only seven interceptions last season because they lost the final two games with a playoff berth on the line.

They brought in Ryan, giving coach Frank Reich his fifth starting QB in five seasons. Ryan, the 2016 NFL MVP, completed 73% of his passes for 356 yards against the Titans, but he fumbled twice, threw a pick and was sacked three times.

Ryan has nine fumbles and five interceptions in four games.

“I think you’ve just got to protect it better,” the 37-year-old Ryan said. “It’s a very uncharacteristic four-game stretch for me. It’s something I’ve got to clean up and get better at. If we can put together a clean game, I think we can be very good.”

The Colts believed Ryan was the upgrade they needed to get to them to the Super Bowl. They’ve got a shot in the mediocre AFC South but aren’t in the same league as the Chiefs and Bills.

The Commanders were happy to take Wentz from Indianapolis. They’ve been looking for a franchise QB for years and were hoping Wentz could reclaim the form he showed in Philadelphia his first four seasons.

But Wentz has been inconsistent. He opened the season with consecutive strong performances, throwing seven TD passes. But he has followed up with back-to-back poor games.

“Guys are hungry. Guys want to get better. I’m excited to see how we respond, how we get better, how we bounce back this week,” Wentz said.

Fighting hard won’t cut it. Wentz has to produce or the few Commanders fans who show up to games are going to start calling for backup Taylor Heinicke.

“I gotta be better. I gotta be more consistent,” Wentz said.

Expectations for Mayfield and the Panthers weren’t high. He joined Carolina in July only after Cleveland agreed to pay most of his salary, and he restructured his contract. Still, there was hope he’d prove he could be the long-term solution for the Panthers. Through four games, he has a career-low 75.0 passer rating.

“I expect more out of this group. I expect more out of myself,” Mayfield said. “We are going to stick together. That is really all I care about. We are going to keep going. We are going to figure it out. We are going to find a way to win.”

Don’t bet on it.

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/robmaaddi

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Relatives mourn those crushed at Indonesia soccer match

JEMBER, Indonesia (AP) — Families and friends of some of the 125 people who died in a crush set off by police tear gas after an Indonesia soccer match wailed in grief as the bodies of the victims were returned home Monday. Seventeen children were among the dead.

Police said 18 officers responsible for firing tear gas as well as security managers were being investigated and mobile phones owned by victims were being examined to identify suspected vandals.

Distraught family members were struggling to comprehend the sudden loss of loved ones at a soccer match in East Java’s Malang city that was watched only by hometown Arema FC fans because the organizer had banned visiting Persebaya Surabaya's supporters due to Indonesia's history of violent soccer rivalries.

The crush was among the world's deadliest disasters ever at a sporting event. President Joko Widodo ordered an investigation of security procedures, and the president of FIFA called the deaths “a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension.”

Faiqotul Hikmah, 22, was an Aremania — the moniker for Arema fans — who died while fleeing to exit 12 at Kanjuruhan Stadium.

A dozen friends traveled to see the match but Hikmah was one of only four who entered the stadium because tickets were sold out, her friend, Abdul Mukid, said Monday in an Associated Press interview. He later bought a ticket separately from a broker then learned of the chaos that had erupted inside the stadium.

“I have to find her, save her... that’s kept me from thinking anything else,” Mukid recalled, “The situation is really... really terrible!”

Two of his friends died and two were injured. Mukid found Hikmah's body laid at a building in the stadium compound, her face full of bluish bruises and broken ribs.

At Hikmah's parents' home in Jember, East Java province, relatives wailed when an ambulance arrived with her body wrapped in white cloth and a black blanket.

“I can’t put into words how much my sorrow is to lose my sister,” said Nur Laila, Hikmah’s older sister. “She was just a big Arema fan who wanted to watch her favorite team play. She shouldn’t die just for that,” she said, wiping tears.

Mukid learned a second friend had died from friends who called him while he was on the ambulance carrying Hikmah’s body to a hospital. Noval Putra Aulia, 19, was an orphan who had been cared for by his brother since their parents died five years ago, Mukid said.

At least 17 children were among the dead and seven children were injured and treated hospitals, the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection said. Police say 323 people overall were injured in the crush, some of them still in critical condition.

Witnesses said fans flooded the pitch and demanded that Arema management explain why, after 23 years of undefeated home matches against Persebaya, Saturday night's ended in a 3-2 defeat. Some of the 42,000 Arema fans threw bottles and other objects at players and soccer officials. At least five police vehicles were toppled and set ablaze outside the stadium.

Riot police trying to stop the violence fired tear gas, including toward the spectator stands, and triggered the disastrous crush of fans making a panicked, chaotic run for the exits. Most of the 125 people who died were trampled upon or suffocated. Children were reported to be among the casualties, and two others were said to be police officers.

Widodo ordered the premier soccer league suspended until safety is reevaluated and security is tightened. Indonesia’s soccer association has also banned Arema from hosting soccer matches for the rest of the season.

National Police spokesperson Dedy Prasetyo said in a news conference Monday that police are investigating 18 officers responsible for firing tear gas as well as security managers, ranging from middle- to high-ranking officers.

He also said police are still questioning witnesses while analyzing footage from 32 security cameras inside and outside the stadium and nine mobile phones owned by the victims, as part of the investigation to identify suspected vandals.

In a separate news conference, security minister Mohammad Mahfud said he will led an inquiry to investigate violations of the law in the stadium disaster. The team will also determine what victims' compensation should be provided and will complete the task in three weeks.

Rights group Amnesty International urged Indonesia to investigate the use of tear gas and ensure that those found in violations are tried in open court. While FIFA has no control over domestic games, it has advised against the use of tear gas at soccer stadiums.

Despite Indonesia’s lack of international accolades in the sport, hooliganism is rife in the soccer-obsessed country where fanaticism often ends in violence. Data from Indonesia’s soccer watchdog, Save Our Soccer, showed 78 people have died in game-related incidents over the past 28 years.

Saturday’s game was among the world’s worst crowd disasters in sports, including the 1996 World Cup qualifier between Guatemala and Costa Rica in Guatemala City where over 80 died and over 100 more were injured. In April 2001, more than 40 people are crushed to death during a soccer match at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Karmini reported from Jakarta, Indonesia.



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Tom Brady gets Bucs offense going, defense struggles

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tom Brady looked more like himself, carrying Tampa Bay’s offense with his arm.

Only problem for the Buccaneers was the defense couldn’t stop Patrick Mahomes and the rest of Kansas City’s offense.

“Our red zone defense was poor. Our run defense was poor. Our pass defense was poor. Our third-down efficiency was poor,” Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles said. “We played a poor game. That falls on me.”

The Chiefs scored touchdowns on four of the first five possessions and didn’t punt until late in the fourth quarter in a 41-31 win over the Buccaneers on Sunday night. They also had a pair of short TD drives, starting from Tampa’s 21 after Rachaad White fumbled the opening kickoff and from Tampa’s 20 after Brady was strip-sacked in the second quarter.

“We didn’t play well. They did a good job and kicked our butts all over the field. Turnovers had nothing to do with it,” Bowles said.

The bright spot for the Buccaneers (2-2) was Brady and the offense finally got going after totaling three TDs in the first three games. Tampa found the end zone four times. The 45-year-old Brady completed 39 of 52 passes for 385 yards and three TDs.

“A little bit better than the way we’ve been playing but, obviously, not good enough,” Brady said. “We’re here for one reason, not to move the ball, we’re here to score more points than the other team. ... We didn’t do a good job in the run game. We could’ve done a lot better in the pass game. We just have to get to work.”

The Bucs had just 3 yards rushing on six carries. They’re averaging just 65.3 yards rushing per game this season. Leonard Fournette netted minus-3 yards on his three carries against the Chiefs.

“It’s not just one thing. I’m sure it’s several things. We have to take time to evaluate it and do a better job,” Brady said. “We’re not going to throw all the time. We have plenty of good, capable runners. We have a line that does a good job in the run game. We just haven’t found a rhythm there.”

After opening the season with road wins at Dallas and New Orleans, the Buccaneers have lost two straight at home. Last week, the offense couldn’t do much in a 14-12 loss to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

Brady got wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones back this week. Also, left tackle Donovan Smith returned after missing two games.

Evans was outstanding, catching eight passes for 103 yards and two TDs. Godwin had seven receptions for 59 yards before he was banged-up again. Jones was targeted twice, catching one ball, and only played one down in the second half because he got nicked up.

“When we’re throwing and catching the ball well, we’re able to move the ball and get the ball in the end zone,” Brady said. “That’s going to pay dividends down the road.”

The Buccaneers had a difficult week, heading to Miami for practice because of Hurricane Ian and they weren’t sure until Friday that they were playing at home instead of in Minnesota.

Nobody made that excuse. They were outplayed start to finish.

Next up for the Bucs is another home game against the Atlanta Falcons (2-2).

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/robmaaddi

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Mahomes throws for 3 TDs, Chiefs overwhelm Buccaneers 41-31

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes had all the answers for solving Tampa Bay's stingy defense, winning his latest matchup against Tom Brady in the stadium where the seven-time Super Bowl winner dealt him one of his most disappointing losses.

Mahomes threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns, including an electrifying jump pass to Clyde Edwards-Helaire, to lead the Chiefs to a 41-31 victory over the Buccaneers on Sunday night.

Playing at sold out Raymond James Stadium only four days after Hurricane Ian ravaged portions of Florida, Mahomes had TD throws of 16 yards to Travis Kelce, 1 yard to Edwards-Helaire and 10 yards to Jody Fortson while making NFL history by reaching 20,000 yards passing faster than anyone else.

Edwards-Helaire and tight end Noah Gray rushed for TDs for the Chiefs (3-1), who won the first meeting between Mahomes and Brady since Tampa Bay’s 31-9 rout of Kansas City in the Super Bowl — also played at Raymond James Stadium — two seasons ago.

“When I came into the stadium I realized that I hadn’t been here and the bad taste I had last time came into effect," Mahomes said. "But it’s still not a playoff game. It’s a regular-season game, which is important. That Super Bowl will always leave a bad taste for me.”

The short pass to Edwards-Helaire was Mahomes at his improvisational best: He escaped two defenders, did a 360-degree spin move and flipped the ball over a crowd to the running back in the back of the end zone.

“I was able to use my speed, my little bit of speed, to get around the edge there. I was gonna run for it, but they kind of flew around me," Mahomes said. “I realized I wasn’t going to make it and I saw Clyde, so I kind of flicked it up to him.”

Brady noted it's fun watching Mahomes, unless he's on the opposing sideline.

“I love seeing Patrick play. ... Unfortunately we're on the wrong end of it tonight,” said Brady, who's 1-2 against the Chiefs quarterback since joining the Bucs in 2020 after two decades with the New England Patriots.

Brady completed 39 of 52 passes for 385 yards and three TDs without an interception for Tampa Bay (2-2). The Bucs, however, played from behind the whole night after rookie Rachaad White fumbled the opening kickoff and Mahomes threw his TD pass to Kelce two plays later.

The Chiefs also got into the end zone on three of their next four possessions, with Mahomes repeatedly shredding the Tampa Bay defense with pinpoint passes and Edwards-Helaire and Isiah Pacheco taking turns running the ball effectively.

“It’s a team sport. We didn’t play great on offense. We didn’t help (the defense) much, either," Brady said.

“We didn’t do great in the first half. Too many missed opportunities on third downs, turnovers. We gotta play a lot better to be one of the good teams,” the seven-time Super Bowl winner added. "We haven’t played our best yet this year.”

Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed sacked Brady, forcing a fumble that Mahomes turned into Gray’s TD, with the tight end taking a direct snap from center on the 1-yard plunge that put Kansas City up 28-10.

Brady threw TD passes of 13 yards and 1 yard to Mike Evans, who returned from serving a one-game suspension for his role in a on-field brawl at New Orleans two weeks ago. He had eight receptions for 103 yards.

Evans' second TD trimmed Kansas City’s lead to 28-17 at halftime. That was as close as the Bucs got until Leonard Fournette’s 5-yard TD reception cut Tampa Bay’s deficit to 41-31 with 3:30 remaining.

Brady wouldn’t get the ball back until less than a minute was left.

Kansas City finished with 417 yards of total offense, including a 189-3 edge on the ground, against a defense that had allowed a league-low 27 points through three games.

“Everything in this game fell on the defensive side of the ball," Bucs coach Todd Bowles said. "You name it we did it. Missed tackles. Missed assignments. Bad calls.”

The Bucs sacked Mahomes three times and intercepted him once, but it was not the “coming out party” linebacker Shaquil Barrett thought his team could have against an offensive line the Chiefs have overhauled since struggling against Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl loss.

With Hurricane Ian approaching the Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Bucs evacuated for four days to the Miami area, where they practiced Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Dolphins' training facility while the NFL made contingency plans to move the game to Minneapolis if it couldn’t be played in Tampa.

The Glazer family that owns the Bucs has announced it is donating $1 million for hurricane relief. The NFL Foundation is matching that donation, and the Bucs on Sunday night began a “Florida Strong” campaign to raise funds, as well as honor emergency personnel and first responders.

Players and fans observed a “moment of support” prior the national anthem, and the Bucs also paid tribute to those affected by the hurricane in a video presentation displayed on giant scoreboard screens before the game.

INJURIES

Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker (ankle) was inactive for the third straight game. ... Bucs WRs Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Julio Jones (knee ), as well as LT Donovan Smith (elbow), played for the first time since Tampa Bay’s season-opening victory at Dallas. ... Bucs CB Logan Ryan left with a foot injury in the first quarter. ... TE Cameron Brate (concussion) and CB Carlton Davis (stinger) left in the second half.

UP NEXT

Chiefs: Return home to face the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday, Oct. 10.

Buccaneers: Host the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday.

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Braves sweep Mets, take 2-game lead in East with 3 remaining

Swanson, Olson homer again; Braves sweep Mets for tiebreaker

ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Olson knew the Atlanta Braves were too talented to stay in a season-long slump.

That's why no one panicked when the New York Mets' division lead swelled to double digits in May. Now the Braves are on the cusp of another NL East title.

“It's a clubhouse full of guys who want to win," Olson said. “That's all it's been since the moment I walked in. That's No. 1 on the program."

Dansby Swanson and Olson homered for the third straight game, Travis d’Arnaud hit a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning, and Braves beat New York 5-3 on Sunday night, completing a three-game sweep of their NL East rival and taking a two-game lead in the division with three games to play.

The defending World Series champion Braves have been chasing the Mets the entire season. In the final series of the season, any combination of one Atlanta win or one Mets loss would give the Braves their fifth straight division title.

New York plays its final three games of the season against worst-in-the-majors Washington. Atlanta closes out the regular season with a three-game set in Miami. Should the season end Wednesday in a tie, Atlanta would win the division after claiming the season series 10-9 with Sunday's victory.

“We've felt this confidence since the beginning of the year," d'Arnaud said. “It just didn't go our way early in the year, but pulling on the same rope, having each others' backs, not trying to do too much. We're just trying to play the game of baseball and have fun with it."

The Braves won five of the last six games in the series, outscoring the Mets 42-19 over that stretch. New York had a 10 1/2-game lead on June 1 but now is the lower in the standings than at any point this season.

It was a lost weekend for New York, which came to Atlanta hoping to clinch its first division title since 2015. Instead, aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lost Friday and Saturday before Chris Bassitt lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Sunday.

“We still have three games left in the regular season, we're still going to the postseason, that doesn't change, but there's a lot of learning points that we can take from this series moving forward," Mets slugger Pete Alonso said. “I thought we played well, but the Braves played better. They played excellent baseball this entire weekend."

Swanson took Bassitt deep to right-center in the first with his 25th homer, and Atlanta took charge with a three-run third. Bassitt (15-9) issued a bases-loaded walk to Olson before d’Arnaud delivered a single up the middle to score Ronald Acuña Jr. and Austin Riley for a 4-3 lead. That chased Bassitt, who was charged with four runs, three hits and three walks.

Olson connected for his 33rd homer to make it 5-3 leading off the sixth, his 410-foot shot landing in the seats in right-center. Olson, in his first year with Atlanta, surpassed 100 RBIs for the second straight season.

“Everyone knew we were underperforming when we were flirting around that .500 range," Olson said. “It was one of those things where it was trusting the talent we have and the guys in the clubhouse. Everybody was solid, head down, do your work, it'll turn around and you wind up winning."

Charlie Morton stranded runners on first and second in the first, but he gave up Daniel Vogelbach’s 18th homer that tied it at 1 in the second. The righty struck out Francisco Lindor with runners on first and second to end the threat.

Jeff McNeil went deep off Morton in the third and Vogelbach followed with an RBI single to put the Mets up 3-1. Morton entered the game having allowed 28 homers, sixth-most in the NL.

Morton scuffled throughout his start, giving up three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings as the 38-year-old made his first start since signing a $20 million, one-year contract to remain with Atlanta next season.

Dylan Lee (5-1) relieved Morton and pitched 1 1/3 innings, leaving after a walk to Brandon Nimmo with two outs in the sixth. Collin McHugh entered and struck out Francisco Lindor.

Raisel Iglesias faced four batters in the seventh, A.J. Minter faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen converted his third save of the series with a clean ninth.

Jansen leads the NL with 40 saves in 47 chances.

The Braves’ bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA last month, pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings the last two nights.

BIG NUMBERS

Atlanta leads the NL with 241 homers. And the Braves have their first 100-victory season since 2003.

TWO, DARN HOT

McNeil went 3 for 5 and has multiple hits in five straight games. His average is .326, one point behind the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman for the NL batting title. In 23 career games at Truist Park, McNeil is hitting .395 with 12 runs, nine doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four walks. ... Jansen tied Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for eighth place on the career list with 389. He's also is the 10th closer to have four different seasons with at least 40 saves.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. ... Braves 2B Ozzie Albies (broken right pinky finger) is still wearing a cast. ... Braves RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique.

ATTENDANCE

The Braves drew 42,713 in their regular season finale, the club’s 42nd sellout of the season. Overall. that's 3,129,931 for the season — and the most tickets sold since 2000. In 2019, the team’s last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta drew 2,655,100.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.95 ERA) will face Nationals RHP Cory Abbott (0-4, 5.11).

Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (2-3, 2.76 ERA) will face Marlins LHP Jesús Luzardo (3-7, 3.53).

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Broncos' offense hurt by awful 3rd quarter in loss to Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Russell Wilson had his most productive day with the Broncos, but it wasn't enough to overcome numerous mistakes and an awful third quarter by Denver's offense in a 32-23 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

“I thought we battled in a tough environment. ... I thought we did some really great things in the first half, we really executed well and made some big plays,” said Wilson, who completed 17 of 25 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns. “And then in the third quarter, we hurt ourselves.”

The Broncos' totals for that quarter: 11 offensive plays for 7 yards over three possessions, all of which ended in punts.

To its credit, Denver’s defense responded by limiting the Raiders to one field goal in the third quarter. But the offense couldn't stay on the field.

Denver, which came into the game converting 37% of its third downs, was a dismal 3 for 11 (27%) on Sunday, with seven of those attempts coming on third-and-8 or longer.

“You don’t want to be in those situations,” Wilson said. “It’s a game of trying to stay on schedule, obviously. Especially going against a good team and tough rivalry. If we could just stay on schedule in those situations, we’ll give ourselves a really good chance.

“I think the biggest thing is that the third quarter, we kind of hurt ourselves — that’s the game.”

The Broncos also wasted three opportunities with good field position — twice in the second quarter when they kicked a field goal and when Melvin Gordon III fumbled, leading to a touchdown by Raiders cornerback Amik Robertson — and once in the third quarter.

“We set ourselves back,” receiver Courtland Sutton said. “Yes, we had those times in the game where we had prime field position and we took advantage of a couple of those. We didn’t take advantage of all of them, we took advantage of a couple of them. But the times that we’re starting on the 25, we gotta go put a job together. We can’t go out there and have a hold on first down, hold on second down. Those are the things that are taking us off schedule.”

Denver, which came into the game with a league-high 30 penalties for 236 yards, was penalized seven times for 50 yards.

Despite their miscues, turnovers, penalties, and finishing with less than 300 yards of offense for a second straight game, the Broncos made it close late. Wilson ran for a 3-yard touchdown that cut the Raiders’ lead to 25-23 after torching the Raiders’ secondary with a 55-yard pass to KJ Hamler on the previous play.

Wilson joined Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Joe Flacco as active quarterbacks to reach the 38,000-yard mark. Sutton caught five passes for 52 yards and a touchdown and is off to the best start of his career with 24 receptions and 343 yards through four games.

But Denver couldn't stop the Raiders' Josh Jacobs, who finished with a career-high 144 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including a 7-yard scamper with 2:07 left that put the game away.

“We’ll have to study the film, figure out where we can get better. I think it’s gonna be simple,” Wilson said. “Just try to stay away from penalties, and staying on schedule. That’s probably the biggest part of this game, and then just keep believing each other.”

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Patriots' Zappe competes but falls short in unexpected debut

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Bailey Zappe’s NFL debut came quite a bit earlier than anticipated.

The rookie fourth-round pick from Western Kentucky began the season as New England’s third-string quarterback. But he was pressed into duty Sunday because of injuries to Mac Jones and Brian Hoyer.

Zappe didn’t put up big numbers, but he still managed to go toe-to-toe with four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers before the Patriots lost 27-24 to the Green Bay Packers on Mason Crosby’s 31-yard field goal in the closing seconds of overtime.

“Of course, it was exciting at first,” Zappe said. “It was a dream come true to play in an NFL game. It’s obviously not the outcome we wanted at all.”

Zappe went 10 of 15 for 99 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker. He also lost a fumble while getting sacked by Rashan Gary.

But he did enough to give the Patriots reason to believe they can compete even if Jones and Hoyer remain out for another week or two.

“Proud of the way he competed, man,” center David Andrews said. “Went really quickly from probably thinking he wasn’t playing much this year to getting thrown in the mix in a pretty hostile environment against a really good defense. I thought he led us well.”

Zappe set Football Bowl Subdivision single-season records by throwing for 5,967 yards and 62 touchdowns last year. His first NFL game action came out of necessity.

Hoyer started the game in place of Jones, who left the Patriots’ 37-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last weekend with an injured left ankle. Hoyer led New England to Nick Folk’s 37-yard field goal on the game’s opening drive, but he got sacked by Gary on the team’s next series and departed.

“I saw him coming off the field (and) I didn’t know what was going on,” Zappe said. “Joe (quarterbacks coach Joe Judge) turned to me and said that ‘You’re going in the next series.’ I went about my way and started playing ball.”

Zappe kept New England (1-3) in the game by leaning on his running backs, with Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson rushing for a combined 152 yards on 32 carries.

He led back-to-back touchdown drives in the second half to help the Patriots grab the lead.

“I thought he competed well,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.

His first touchdown pass put New England ahead 17-14 in the third quarter. Replays appeared to show that the play clock expired before the ball was snapped on Zappe’s touchdown pass to Parker, but no penalty was called.

Zappe later led a seven-play 66-yard drive that culminated with Harris’ 5-yard touchdown run, giving the Patriots a 24-17 lead with 11:14 left.

“I thought he made some nice plays,” Rodgers said. “They obviously ran the ball pretty well, set up some action stuff and they kind of ran the same stuff we’ve been seeing, some deep crossers and some individual routes but I thought he threw the ball nice. He had the one turnover, but I thought overall he made some nice throws and it didn’t seem like he missed any that he should’ve had.”

But Zappe was unable to lead a winning drive in overtime after New England’s defense set him up with outstanding field position.

The Patriots forced a three-and-out on the opening series of overtime and got the ball at their 49-yard line after a 20-yard punt return from Marcus Jones.

They only needed a field goal to win the game. They couldn’t even get a first down. After two runs by Harris netted 5 yards, Zappe couldn’t connect with Hunter Henry on third down.

The Patriots wouldn’t get the ball again. After a punt backed them up to their 10, the Packers (3-1) drove 77 yards on 12 plays to set up Crosby’s winning field goal.

Zappe couldn’t help but wonder after the game about what he could have done to change the result. After all the ways the Patriots helped him through his debut, he wanted to repay them with a victory.

“I give credit to all my teammates,” Zappe said. “They kept me calm, they kept me getting the nerves out of me, they kept me in my space and cool, calm and collected. Everybody played well tonight, O-line played well, we ran the ball well.

“It really just comes down to me. I’ve just got to make more plays and the outcome is different.”

___



Stadium tragedy exposes Indonesia's troubled soccer history

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Gaining the right to host next year’s Under-20 World Cup was a major milestone in Indonesia’s soccer development, raising hopes that a successful tournament would turn around long-standing problems that have blighted the sport in this country of 277 million people.

The death of at least 125 people at a league game between host Arema FC of East Java’s Malang city and Persebaya Surabaya on Saturday is a tragic reminder, however, that Indonesia is one of the most dangerous countries in which to attend a game.

“Do remember that the FIFA U-20 World Cup will be the worldwide spotlight since the event will be joined by 24 countries from five continents,” Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said last month as he pushed for thorough preparations for the tournament.

Since Saturday, the domestic league has been suspended. Widodo has ordered the sports minister, the national police chief and the soccer federation to conduct a thorough investigation into the deadly stadium crush.

Indonesia was the first Asian team ever to play at a World Cup — participating in 1938 as Dutch East Indies — but despite an undoubted national passion for the sport, it has never returned to the global stage because of years of corruption, violence and mismanagement.

Data from Indonesia’s soccer watchdog, Save Our Soccer, showed 78 people have died in game-related incidents over the past 28 years.

Those accused are often associated with supporter groups that attach themselves to clubs, with the biggest boasting hundreds of thousands of members.

Arema's intense rivalry with Surabaya meant that no visiting fans were allowed in the stadium on the weekend. Yet violence broke out when the home team lost 3-2 and some of the 42,000 Arema fans, known as “Aremania,” threw bottles and other objects at players and soccer officials.

Restrictions on visiting fans also have failed in the past. In 2016, despite Persib Bandung supporters being banned from a game with bitter rival Persija Jakarta, they were blamed for the death of a Jakarta supporter.

A month earlier, a Persib fan had been beaten to death by Jakarta followers.

In 2018, local media reported a seventh death in six years related to Indonesia’s biggest soccer rivalry.

Soccer fans have accused security officials of being heavy-handed in the past and on the weekend, with witnesses describing officers beating them with sticks and shields before shooting tear gas canisters directly into the crowds. In 2016, police were accused of killing 16-year-old supporter Muhammad Fahreza at a game between Persija and Persela Lamongan, resulting in mass demonstrations demanding an end to police brutality.

“The police who were in charge of security violated FIFA stadium safety and security regulations,” soccer analyst Akmal Marhali told Indonesian media on Sunday, referring to the use of tear gas on Malang fans who entered the pitch after their team's defeat. That sparked a rush for exits in an overcrowded stadium.

“The Indonesia Football Association may have been negligent for not informing the police that security procedures at a football match are not the same as those at a demonstration."

FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, advises against the use of tear gas at stadiums by on-field security or police who control and have responsibility for safety operations.

Indonesia's national soccer association, known locally as PSSI, has long struggled to manage the game domestically.

In 2007, Nurdin Halid was imprisoned on corruption charges but was able to continue as the organization’s president until 2011. After Halid was banned from running for another term, a rival league, federation and national team emerged.

But chaotic administration continued until FIFA suspended Indonesia in 2015, a sanction that was lifted the following year.

In 2019, when FIFA awarded Indonesia hosting rights for the Under-20 World Cup, it was seen as a vote of confidence.

In June, a FIFA panel inspected the country's soccer facilities and planning for the May 20-June 11 tournament and proclaimed its satisfaction.

“We are very pleased to see the preparations in Indonesia,” Roberto Grassi, Head of Youth Tournaments for FIFA said. “A lot of refurbishment work has been done already. We have had an encouraging visit and are confident of support from all stakeholders involved.”

Kanjuruhan Stadium, the site of the disaster on Saturday, is not among the six venues listed for the Under-20 World Cup, although nearby Surabaya Stadium is scheduled to host games.

FIFA has not yet commented on any potential impact on the Under-20 World Cup but the weekend tragedy is likely to damage Indonesia's bid to host the 2023 Asian Cup. It is vying with South Korea and Qatar to become host of the continental championship after China relinquished its staging rights in May.

Indonesia has already co-hosted the tournament, sharing the event in 2007 with Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam and hosting the final in Jakarta, where Iraq beat Saudi Arabia for the title.

That was the last time Indonesia staged a major international soccer tournament. The Asian Football Confederation is expected to announce its decision on the 2023 tournament on Oct. 17.

There is unlikely to be any soccer played before then as people in Indonesia, and football followers around the globe, come to terms with one of the deadliest disasters ever at a sporting event.

Families and friends of some of the people who died after the match wailed in grief as the bodies of the victims were returned home Monday. Seventeen children were among the dead.

___

Duerden covers soccer in Asia for The Associated Press.

___



Dominant Raptors feed off crowd to beat Jazz 114-82 in pre-season debut

EDMONTON — The Toronto Raptors opened their exhibition season on Sunday by being simply dominant in their Canadian home away from home.

Pre-season or not, holding an NBA team — even one that is in rebuilding mode like the Utah Jazz — to just 33 second-half points is remarkable. And that’s what the Raptors did in a 114-82 blowout win at Rogers Place.

Leading by only one entering the second half, the Toronto Raptors began the third quarter by going on a 17-3 run in the pre-season opener for both teams.

The Jazz, a team that is in a rebuilding process after stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell were traded away during the off-season, looked very much like a club starting from scratch, shooting 32.6 per cent from the floor on the night and committing 23 turnovers.

A capacity crowd at Rogers Place watched the pre-season curtain raiser. Tickets sold out for the NBA Canada Series game just minutes after they went on sale, and lower bowl tickets were going for more than $700 each on secondary sales sites.

“The crowd is into it, it’s the one chance they get to see us in their hometown or home area,” said Raptors coach Nick Nurse. “And, they usually bring it. It’s cool because, listen, there’s a lot of pre-season games that you go through that there is zero energy and almost leaning toward negative energy. We don’t have to go through that, and it’s fun.”

The Raptors were led by 11 points and 10 rebounds from Chris Boucher, one of five Canadian players to see the floor in the game. Kelly Olynyk (no points, six rebounds) and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (no points, five rebounds) got onto the floor for the Jazz, while Dalano Banton (nine points), and Khem Birch (five points, five rebounds) also saw time for the Raptors.

Of the 18 players on the Raptors game roster, only Thaddeus Young did not score.

The Jazz debuted a new-look starting lineup with the twin towers of seven-footer Lauri Markkanen and Olynyk, one inch shy of seven feet, in the front court. Markkanen finished as the Jazz’s game high scorer with 20 points.

Raptors’ seven-foot rookie Christian Koloko made the most of his time on the floor, bringing the crowd to their feet with a highlight-reel second quarter put-back dunk, and later using his massive wingspan to stuff a dunk attempt.

Edmonton native Matthew Kallio was one of the officials on the floor for the game. He was a non-staff referee for the NBA and also officiated at the Tokyo Olympics, but found out in August he’s going to become a staff official for the league. He’s relocated to Calgary, but being part of this game in his hometown was special.

“There’s a lot of honour and pride,” he said. “It’s been a long journey, a lot of work to get here. But, at the same time, it’s a basketball game. I love this game. But I will cherish the moment after the game, after the work is done."

The first game Kallio ever officiated was at Edmonton’s Rosslyn School. Kallio was a junior-high student, and was asked to ref a junior game because no other ref was available.

“I decided to throw a whistle around my neck and hop on the floor because my (physical education) teacher asked me to.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 2, 2022.



Villar single in 10th, Giants beat D-backs in home finale

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Rookie David Villar hit a two-run, bases-loaded single with nobody out in the 10th inning to give the San Francisco Giants a 4-3 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, a dramatic finish to the final game of the season at Oracle Park.

The win also kept alive the Giants’ hopes of a winning season, raising their record to 80-79 with three games remaining in San Diego.

Austin Slater homered for the Giants and Evan Longoria contributed a sacrifice fly in what might have been his final home game in San Francisco.

Longoria’s status for the Padres series is questionable as well. He took a bad-hop grounder off his bare hand in the top of the 10th and was going to give way to a pinch-hitter had Villar not won the game in the spot ahead of him.

Longoria is completing his fifth year with the Giants and the final guaranteed season of the 10-year, $100 million contract he signed with the Rays in 2012. The Giants hold a $13 million option for 2023, but the third baseman turns 37 on Friday and the club has expressed a desire to get younger and more athletic after a disappointing season.

Villar is part of those plans, with manager Gabe Kapler calling him an “important part of our future.”

The 25-year-old said he understood what his walk-off hit meant to fans as the final moment of a season at a ballpark where the Giants did not win nearly as much as they had hoped coming off a 107-win division championship.

“I think there’s a lot of good things we saw today and throughout the season," he said. "Head over to San Diego, try to take these three games and head into the offseason happy.”

The Diamondbacks, who twice came from behind to tie the game, took a 3-2 lead in the 10th.

Jharel Cotton (4-2) began the inning by getting Carson Kelly to pop up a bunt. Jake McCarthy’s third hit, a single to right, scored automatic runner Daulton Varsho to break a 2-2 tie.

But with two runners in scoring position, Cotton struck out Josh Rojas and retired Pavin Smith on a flyball to prevent the Diamondbacks from adding to their lead.

Taylor Widener (0-1), trying to earn his first major league save, walked leadoff hitter Wilmer Flores before J.D. Davis’ infield single loaded the bases with nobody out in the 10th.

Villar grounded Widener’s first pitch through the hole into left field, scoring automatic runner Mike Yastrzemski and Flores, who slid home as the catcher Kelly could not handle Corbin Carroll’s throw.

Slater hit the sixth pinch-homer of his career off lefty Caleb Smith to start the seventh inning and break a 1-1 tie.

The Diamondbacks retied it at 2 in the eighth on McCarthy’s leadoff single and Rojas’ RBI double against John Brebbia.

Giants closer Camilo Doval and former Giants reliever Mark Melancon each pitched a perfect ninth to send the game into extras.

Arizona starter Zach Davies pitched five innings and held the Giants to one first-inning run despite allowing two hits and walking five.

San Francisco loaded the bases in the first on Flores’ double, a walk by Davis and Joc Pederson’s single before Longoria’s one-out sacrifice fly.

Pederson also might have played his final home game for the Giants. Pederson, a native of nearby Palo Alto whose 70 RBIs rank second on the team behind Flores’ 71, is completing a one-year contract and will return to free agency this winter.

After the Diamondbacks wasted several opportunities to score early in the game, they tied it 1-1 in the fifth on two-out doubles off Alex Young by Kelly and McCarthy. But overall they stranded 10 runners and went 3 for 17 with runners in scoring position.

“I was proud of the way the guys fought today,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “We had a ton of opportunities. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the big hit; we’ll be better tomorrow.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Diamondbacks: INF Emmanuel Rivera went on the 60-day injured list with a left wrist fracture, two days after the injury was diagnosed. Arizona also moved infielder Ketel Marte to the 10-day IL for undisclosed reasons. ... Selected the contract of INF Jake Hager from Triple-A Reno to provide depth.

Giants: Opening day starter Logan Webb went on the 10-day injured list with a low back strain on the day he was supposed to make his final 2022 start. Kapler said Webb could have pitched, but also cited Webb’s workload this year and the need to protect him for 2023. The 25-year-old set career highs in starts (32) and innings (192 1/3) while posting a 15-9 record and 2.90 ERA.

ROSTER MOVES

Giants: Recalled RHPs Sean Hjelle and Luis Ortiz from Triple-A Sacramento to provide additional bullpen coverage for the final four games. They replaced Webb, who went on the IL with a low back strain, and RHP Jakob Junis, who threw 83 pitches Saturday and was not likely to return to the mound this season.

NUMBERS GAME

The Giants finished their home schedule 44-37. They also went 32-41 against the NL West after going 52-23 in division games last year. The Diamondbacks were 29-48 in division play.

ATTENDANCE

The Giants drew a total of 2,482,686 fans for their home games this season. In 2019, the last season before COVID-19 restrictions, they drew 2,707,760.

UP NEXT

Diamondbacks: Arizona wades into the race for the final NL wild-card spot when it begins a three-game series at Milwaukee on Monday night. The Brewers are two games behind the Phillies for the final slot with three games remaining. LHP Tommy Henry (3-4) starts the opener for the Diamondbacks against RHP Brandon Woodruff (13-4).

Giants: The Giants open their final series of the season in San Diego on Monday night with a bullpen game. RHP Joe Musgrove (10-7) starts for the Padres, who clinched a wild-card spot Sunday.

___



Rodgers, Crosby's OT FG lead Packers past Pats, Zappe 27-24

Crosby's FG in OT helps Packers edge Patriots, Zappe 27-24

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers rebounded from a dreadful start and helped the Green Bay Packers spoil Bailey Zappe's unexpected NFL debut with the New England Patriots.

Rodgers threw two second-half touchdown passes and led an overtime drive that resulted in Mason Crosby's 31-yard field goal as time expired, lifting the Packers to a 27-24 victory on Sunday.

The dramatic finish came after Rodgers went 4 of 11 for 44 yards for an 11.2 passer rating in a first-half performance that included New England's Jack Jones scoring on a 40-yard interception return, lifting the Patriots to a 10-7 halftime lead.

“I settled in and usually don’t have two terrible halves, so I kind of returned to the form I expect from myself, and we started moving the football,” said Rodgers, who went 21 of 35 for 251 yards.

Zappe, a 2022 fourth-round pick from Western Kentucky, played the majority of the game after Brian Hoyer left with a head injury. Hoyer made his first start since 2020 in place of Mac Jones, who injured his left ankle during last weekend's 37-26 loss to Baltimore.

Hoyer led New England to Nick Folk's 37-yard field goal on the game’s opening drive, but he got sacked by Rashan Gary on the team's next series and departed.

Zappe and the Patriots (1-3) still played well enough to force overtime, but Rodgers continued his recent home mastery of AFC teams. The Packers (3-1) are 18-1 in the last 19 home games Rodgers has started against AFC foes.

“Of course, it was exciting at first," said Zappe, who went 10 of 15 for 99 yards with a touchdown. “It was a dream come true to play in an NFL game. It’s obviously not the outcome we wanted at all.”

After the Packers went three-and-out on the opening possession of overtime, Marcus Jones’ 20-yard punt return gave New England the ball at its 49-yard line. Gary said he had one thing on his mind at that point.

“Get (Rodgers) back the ball,” said Gary, who had two sacks. “Give ‘12’ back the ball. We have a quarterback like that, a living Hall of Famer, he’s able to do wonderful things for us. You all know what he can do with the ball. We also know what he can do with the ball.”

After the Packers forced a three-and-out and the Patriots punted, Green Bay marched 77 yards in a 12-play drive that lasted nearly seven minutes before Crosby made his winning kick.

“We get the ball there at the 10-yard line in the second possession of overtime, and it’s amazing to have no doubt that we’re going to have an (opportunity) to try to win it,” Crosby said. “Snap, hold, protection, everything was great all day. So, yeah, it’s nice to be able to finish that thing off.”

Green Bay had tied the game at 24 on Rodgers’ 13-yard touchdown pass to rookie Romeo Doubs with 6:14 remaining. They nearly connected again in the closing minutes of regulation.

With the Packers facing third-and-8 from the New England 40, Rodgers threw deep to a diving Doubs in the right corner of the end zone. Dobbs got past Jonathan Jones and caught the pass, but the ball slipped out of his hands after he landed.

New England withstood the injuries to its top two quarterbacks to lead on the road for much of the day. The Patriots were helped by their ability to contain Rodgers in the first half.

Jack Jones' touchdown with 13 seconds left in the second quarter was Rodgers' first pick-6 since Tampa Bay’s Jamel Dean scored on a 32-yard interception return in the Buccaneers' 38-10 victory on Oct. 18, 2020.

Rodgers rebounded after halftime and threw touchdown passes to Doubs and Robert Tonyan for the tight end's first score since tearing an anterior cruciate ligament last season.

“I’ve been a great player for a long time," Rodgers said. "Not a whole lot I need to tell myself. Just play better.”

Aaron Jones rushed for 110 yards to lead Green Bay's 199-yard attack on the ground. Allen Lazard had six catches for 116 yards.

Zappe gave New England a 17-10 lead in the third quarter with a 25-yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker. The ball appeared to get snapped after the play clock had expired on Parker's touchdown, but no penalty was called.

After Crosby's 38-yard field goal late in the third, New England regained the lead on Damien Harris' 5-yard touchdown run with 11:14 left. Harris rushed for 86 yards on 18 carries, while Rhamondre Stevenson ran 14 times for 66 yards.

Then Rodgers led the Packers back again. This time, the Patriots couldn't respond.

“In the end, Rodgers is just too good," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “He made some throws that only he can make.”

INJURIES

Packers S Adrian Amos left in the first quarter with a head injury. Patriots TE Jonnu Smith left with an ankle injury.

The Patriots played without DT Lawrence Guy (shoulder), CB Jalen Mills (hamstring) and WR Jakobi Meyers (knee). The Packers were missing CB Jaire Alexander (groin).

UP NEXT

Patriots: Host the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Packers: Play an international regular-season game for the first time in franchise history when they face the New York Giants on Sunday at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

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