FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Danny Amendola were officially ruled out for Sunday's victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, meaning Tom Brady once again was without two of his top pass catchers.
Gronkowski (back/forearm) was listed as questionable to play, a step up from the first two weeks of the season when he was listed as doubtful before missing both games. The star tight end has been a regular at Patriots practice since the start of the regular season and looks to be closing in on a return.
Amendola practiced in a limited capacity throughout the week, though it was clear that the groin injury he suffered in Week 1 continues to bother him. The injury forced Amendola to miss last week's victory over the New York Jets.
With Amendola out again, Brady turned to a pair of rookie receivers who turned in key performances against Tampa Bay.
Kenbrell Thompkins hauled in two touchdown catches while fellow rookie Aaron Dobson pitched in with seven receptions. Julian Edelman also had seven catches for New England, which dressed only four active receivers and was without injured special teams ace Matthew Slater.
Undrafted rookie Zach Sudfeld returned to action after missing Week 2 and was one of three tight ends expected to fill Gronkowski's role, alongside veterans Michael Hoomanawanui and Matthew Mulligan. Sudfeld was a training camp standout but struggled in Week 1, dropping a pass that led to an interception.