FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — At least Patriots coach Bill Belichick doesn't have to answer — or, more precisely, not answer — questions about an undefeated season anymore.
The Patriots' quest for a second perfect regular season came to an end Sunday night with a 30-24 overtime loss at Denver. What's worse, All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski was injured late in the game, putting a scare into a team that had already lost many of Tom Brady's offensive weapons.
"He is the best tight end in football," Brady said. "It is so hard to see these guys get hurt this way. … It is hard to see your friends get taken down like that. It is part of this sport and we understand that, but I also have a lot of respect for guys that take the field."
New England's injured list includes Gronkowski — who escaped major injury and has a knee strain, profootballtalk.com reported — running back Dion Lewis, receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola and a slew of offensive linemen.
So instead of thinking about 16-0, the Patriots can worry about playoff position. They lead the AFC East by four games with five to play and have a one-game lead over Cincinnati and Denver for homefield.
Ravens win on wild ending: Former Florida standout Will Hill returned a blocked field goal 64 yards on the final play as the visiting Ravens defeated the Browns 33-27 Monday night. Defensive end Brent Urban, in his NFL debut after spending a season and a half on injured reserve, blocked Travis Coons' 51-yard attempt, and Allen scooped it up and returned it down the left sideline. Cleveland, behind backup quarterback Austin Davis, who replaced Josh McCown, tied it with 1:47 remaining.
Miami coordinator out: The Dolphins fired offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. Interim coach Dan Campbell gave Zac Taylor primary playcalling responsibility. Taylor will remain the quarterbacks coach. Also, Campbell said center Mike Pouncey (right foot) is day to day.
Kelly denies USC contact: Eagles coach Chip Kelly denied reports that USC met with him to discuss its coaching vacancy before the school hired interim coach Clay Helton. Kelly, the former Oregon coach, is in his third year with Philadelphia. "I have never spoken to anybody from USC. I have never emailed anybody from USC," Kelly said, adding that his agent did not, either.
Flex scheduling: The Dec. 13 Patriots-Texans game moved to prime time, with Seahawks-Ravens moved from 8:25 on NBC (Ch. 8) to 1 p.m. on Fox.
Cardinals: Running back Chris Johnson is out for an undetermined time with a fractured tibia.
Colts: Ahmad Bradshaw (wrist) is out for the season and running back Zurlon Tipton was re-signed to replace him.
Steelers: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will continue with concussion protocol but the team has not said he has a concussion, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.