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Thursday February 27th, 2020 9:03AM

The Latest: Eagles' Zach Ertz sets record for catches

By The Associated Press
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The Latest on NFL's Week 16 (All times Eastern).

2:55 p.m.

Philadelphia's Zach Ertz has set a single-season record for most catches by a tight end with his 111th reception, breaking Jason Witten's mark.

Witten had 110 catches for the Dallas Cowboys in 2012.

Ertz eclipsed the record on a 13-yard pass from Nick Foles in the third quarter of the Eagles' game against Houston.

Ertz fumbled after the catch and teammate Dallas Goedert recovered. Ertz already has 10 catches for 65 yards on the day.

—Rob Maaddi reporting from Philadelphia.

___

2:45 p.m.

Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has left Cincinnati's game at Cleveland with a concussion.

Burfict had been listed as questionable coming into the game because of a concussion.

He played most of the first half against the Browns.

The Bengals also announced that cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is out with right shoulder injury.

—Tom Withers reporting from Cleveland.

2:45 p.m.

The New York Jets will have to play the rest of the game against the Green Bay Packers without their top defensive lineman.

Leonard Williams was ejected for throwing a punch at Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga after the two got into a shoving match during a 14-yard pass play to Equanimeous St. Brown late in the second quarter.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers took exception to Williams' actions and shoved the defensive lineman.

After a lengthy conference by the officials, they called a personal foul on Williams and tossed him from the game.

Williams had a sack earlier in the game, giving him four this season.

— Dennis Waszak reporting from East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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2:45 p.m.

The Indianapolis Colts will play the second half without two key offensive starters.

Tight end Eric Ebron left late in the first half with a concussion and was ruled out. Center Ryan Kelly also left during the second quarter with a neck injury and was ruled out at halftime.

Evan Boehm, who replaced Kelly while he missed three games with a left injury, is filling in again. Mo Alie-Cox is the replacement for Ebron, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl earlier this week.

—Mike Marot reporting from Indianapolis.

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2:30 p.m.

Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry is out-throwing Bengals quarterback Jeff Driskel.

Landry completed a 63-yard pass on a gadget play in the first half, helping Cleveland open a 16-0 halftime lead. Landry took a pitch and launched his pass to receiver Breshad Perriman to set up the Browns' second touchdown.

Driskel, who is making his fourth straight start in place of the injured Andy Dalton, completed 2 of 6 passes for 3 yards and sacked twice in the first half.

Cleveland has 255 total yards in the first half to Cincinnati's 36.

—Tom Withers reporting from Cleveland.

___

2:25 p.m.

Panthers quarterback Taylor Heinicke returned to the field wearing a brace on his left elbow, then threw an interception near the goal line.

Heinicke, making his first start, returned mid-drive in the second quarter and quickly completed two passes before making a poor decision on a throw that was tipped and picked off by Jack Crawford.

Heinicke, a right-hander, had gone to the locker room for treatment earlier in the second quarter after injuring his left elbow when he tried to brace himself on a sack.

Kyle Allen replaced him and was 4 of 4 and led a field goal drive before Heinicke returned.

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2:20 p.m.

Two second-round gambles by the Dallas Cowboys have combined for one of the team's biggest defensive plays of the year.

Defensive end Randy Gregory forced a fumble with a blind-side sack of a scrambling Jameis Winston, and linebacker Jaylon Smith scooped up the loose ball and won a sprint to the end zone for a 69-yard touchdown and a 14-3 Dallas lead over Tampa Bay.

The Cowboys can clinch the NFC East title with a win over the Buccaneers.

Gregory was drafted late in the second round in 2015 when he slid because of off-field concerns. He missed 31 of 32 games over the previous two seasons on substance-abuse suspensions.

The hit on Winston was his sixth sack of the season after entering the year with one for his career.

Dallas got Smith early in the second round in 2016 knowing he probably wouldn't play as a rookie because of a devastating knee injury in his final game at Notre Dame. He illustrated his speed post-injury on his first career touchdown.

—Schuyler Dixon reporting from Arlington, Texas.

___

2:15 p.m.

Panthers safety Eric Reid was complaining last week about his fourth fine from the NFL for an illegal hit, one that wasn't even flagged.

Well, he can almost certainly expect a fifth fine next week from the league.

Reid was flagged for a late hit on Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley, giving the Falcons a first down and keep their drive alive.

Ridley was sliding while trying to make a catch when Reid came flying in and hit him in the head area with his shoulder.

—Steve Reed reporting from Charlotte, North Carolina.

___

2:10 p.m.

When Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri made an extra point with 4:09 left in the first half, he tied former punter Jeff Feagles for the third-most games played in NFL history.

Both have appeared in 352 games.

Vinatieri, who does not kick off, finally made it onto the field after Nyheim Hines scored on a 1-yard TD run to cut the New York Giants lead to 14-7.

Johnny Unitas Jr. and Johnny Unitas III served as honorary captains for the Colts.

—Mike Marot reporting from Indianapolis.

___

2:05 p.m.

Panthers starting quarterback Taylor Heinicke has been taken to the locker room with a left arm injury, marring his first career start.

Heinicke was injured when he landed wrong on his left arm on a sack by Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who drew a flag for roughing the quarterback.

The Panthers say Heinicke is questionable to return.

Kyle Allen has replaced Heinicke at quarterback with the game tied at 7 in the second quarter.

Cam Newton is inactive with a right shoulder injury.

—Steve Reed reporting from Charlotte, North Carolina.

___

2:00 p.m.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has added his name to yet another list of elite NFL passers.

With a 6-yard pass to Rex Burkhead in the second quarter, Brady joined Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers (10) as quarterbacks with at least 10 seasons of 4,000-plus passing yards.

Manning has 14 such seasons, Brees has 12 and Rivers has 10.

Brady is coming off a 2017 MVP campaign in which he threw for 4,577 yards. Brady's longest stretch of consecutive 4,000-yard seasons was from the 2011-2015.

Brees can make it 13 seasons with 4,000 yards passing if he throws for 334 yards today against Pittsburgh.

— Kyle Hightower reporting from Foxborough, Mass.

___

1:55 p.m.

Dallas defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford went to a hospital to have a neck injury evaluated after getting hurt on the second play of the game against Tampa Bay.

Crawford's neck was stabilized on a stretcher with his facemask removed, and several teammates looked distraught as he was treated on the field. The seventh-year player was moving his arms while on the stretcher, and moved his legs while being treated before going on the stretcher.

The team's radio network reported that Crawford was placed in an ambulance and transported to a hospital, accompanied by some family members.

The 29-year-old Crawford started all 14 games before Sunday and was second on the team with 5 1/2 sacks. He missed the 2013 season, his second, after tearing an Achilles tendon in training camp.

—Schuyler Dixon reporting from Arlington, Texas.

___

1:50 p.m.

Good news for fans in Philadelphia and Washington: The Minnesota Vikings are sputtering at Detroit.

The Vikings trail the Lions 6-0 with 10:39 left in the second quarter, and Minnesota doesn't have a first down yet. The Vikings have only 4 yards of offense.

Washington and Philadelphia are chasing Minnesota for the final wild card in the NFC. The Vikings can clinch a playoff berth if they win and the Eagles lose.

—Noah Trister reporting from Detroit

1:40 p.m.

Five NFL players have 100 catches this season and six more are within striking distance.

The players who have already reached the mark are Saints receiver Michael Thomas with 109, Vikings receiver Adam Thielen with 105, Eagles tight end Zach Ertz with 101, and Falcons receiver Julio Jones and Packers receiver Davante Adams with 100 each.

Among the players who are close are Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster with 95 catches and teammate Antonio Brown with 90.

Also close coming into today's games are Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins with 94, Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey with 94, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce with 93 and Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs with 92.

The record for most 100-reception players in NFL history is nine set in 1995.

—Arnie Stapleton reporting from Denver.

___

1:30 p.m.

Quarterback Taylor Heinicke is off to an impressive start in his first career NFL for Carolina, moving the Panthers 73 yards on 14 plays for a touchdown against the Falcons.

Heinicke, filling in for the injured Cam Newton, was 5 of 6 on the opening drive for 38 yards, including a 1-yard TD pass to tight end Ian Thomas. Heinicke also showed great speed and pocket awareness when he tucked the ball and ran 11 yards on a third-and-9 play.

It was the first career TD pass for Heinicke and Thomas' first career TD catch, meaning the youngsters will have to fight over who keeps the ball.

Running back Christian McCaffrey also became the first Carolina running back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart both accomplished the feat in 2009.

—Steve Reed reporting from Charlotte, North Carolina.

___

1:20 p.m.

Dallas defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford was taken off the field on a cart after getting injured on the second play of the game against Tampa Bay.

Crawford's neck was stabilized on a stretcher with his facemask removed, and several teammates looked distraught as he was treated on the field.

The seventh-year player was moving his arms while on the stretcher, and he moved his legs while being treated before going on the stretcher.

There was no immediate word on the nature of the injury.

Crawford started every game so far this season and was second on the team with 5 1/2 sacks. He missed all of the 2013 season, his second, after tearing an Achilles tendon in training camp.

—Schuyler Dixon reporting from Arlington, Texas.

___

1:10 p.m.

Tom Brady is 14 yards shy of his 10th 4,000-yard season as he faces the Bills today.

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers reached the 4,000-yard mark for the 10th time in his career in a loss to the Ravens last night.

Peyton Manning holds the NFL record for most 4,000-yard seasons with 14, followed by Drew Brees with 12.

Brees can make it 13 with 334 yards today against the Steelers.

___

12:30 p.m.

Some Carolina players are warming up with white T-shirts with a green bottle of Heineken on the front, only the word "Heinicke" replaces "Heineken" in support of quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who makes his NFL starting debut against the Falcons.

Cam Newton had given Heinicke the nickname.

The Panthers sat down Newton, the league's 2015 MVP, because of lingering shoulder problems that have prevented him from throwing balls more than 15 yards downfield.

There is a chance Newton could play in Week 17 against the Saints if the Panthers are somehow still alive in the playoff race.

Carolina needs to beat Atlanta and have Minnesota lose this week to survive until next weekend.

The Panthers host the Falcons in the regular season home finale.

—Steve Reed reporting from Charlotte, North Carolina.

___

11:30 a.m.

It's Week 16 of the NFL schedule, which always means several teams can secure playoff berths.

New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago and the Los Angeles Chargers already have qualified.

New England wins its 10th successive AFC East title with a victory or tie at home against Buffalo, or Miami losing or drawing with Jacksonville.

Houston takes the AFC South by beating the Eagles in Philadelphia. It earns at least a wild-card spot with a Pittsburgh loss at New Orleans.

The Chiefs earn the AFC West crown with a victory at Seattle now that the Chargers have lost to Baltimore.

In the NFC, a Saints victory gets them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. If the Bears lose at San Francisco or the Rams fall at Arizona, New Orleans has a first-round bye even with a loss to the Steelers.

A Rams win and Bears loss gives LA a wild-card round bye.

If Dallas beats visiting Tampa Bay, it owns the NFC East. Should the Eagles lose to Houston, the Cowboys also get the division title. They can also earn at least a playoff berth if they tie the Bucs and the Vikings lose at Detroit.

But Minnesota can take a wild-card spot with a win and loss by Philly.

Finally, Seattle also gets a wild card if it beats the Chiefs

___

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