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NFL notes: Sending out plays tough for Broncos

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 16, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Broncos called plays the old-fashioned way for part of the first half Sunday after their radio headsets became unusable because the frequencies conflicted with the 49ers' system.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan couldn't send plays to quarterback Brian Griese during much of the first half. Denver, which hadn't played in San Francisco since 1997, apparently was using the same radio frequency as the 49ers.

Typically, when one team's radio communications aren't working, the other team's radios are turned off as well, but the 49ers couldn't turn off their headsets without disrupting communications throughout the stadium.

The 49ers changed their frequency late in the first half while Shanahan used a shuttle system to get plays to Griese.

BEARS: Defensive tackle Ted Washington went out with a sprained left ankle early in the second quarter and didn't return.

BENGALS: Cleveland fans, who sat stunned as Dwayne Rudd's helmet toss cost the Browns their game against Kansas City the previous week, roared when tight end T.J. Houshmandzadeh was flagged for taking off his helmet in the closing minutes to fix his chin strap.

BROWNS: Defensive end Courtney Brown sat out with a sore neck. Brown, the first overall pick in the 2000 draft, bruised his neck during the loss to Kansas City but practiced during the week. He had been listed as probable.

CHARGERS: The defense, even without one of its best players, sacked Texans quarterback David Carr nine times, seven in the second half. Defensive back Rodney Harrison sat out injured. Also, Pro Bowl defensive end Marcellus Wiley sprained an ankle.

CHIEFS: Guard Will Shields made his 145th consecutive start, a team record. Shields has played his entire career in Kansas City, which drafted him in the third round in 1993.

COWBOYS: The team plans to install a new playing surface at Texas Stadium after Sunday's game. The team used the new surface, Realgrass Synthetic Grass Playing Surface, during training camp at the Alamodome in San Antonio. ... Perennial All-Pro lineman Larry Allen sprained his left ankle. Allen, a 6-foot-3, 335-pound player in his 10th year, was hurt late in the second quarter. He tried to return but came out again. Strong safety Tony Dixon left in the first quarter with a hamstring problem.

DOLPHINS: Linebacker Twan Russell and cornerback Patrick Surtain left with sprained left knees. Surtain's injury came on an interception in the back of the end zone at the end of the first half. Russell hurt his back in pregame warmups and injured his knee later. Neither returned.

LIONS: Coach Marty Mornhinweg took no questions after a loss to Carolina, uttering a short statement before storming off. "Our offense was horrible," he said. "We had trouble completing basic passes. Stayed close at halftime and then did absolutely nothing ... it's as simple as that, we've got a lot of work to do." ... Guard Kevin Blaise left in the first quarter with a sprained left knee.

PACKERS: Brett Favre has started 159 straight games, a league record for quarterbacks. ... Right tackle Mark Tauscher sprained his right knee and running back Ahman Green injured his right knee.

PANTHERS: John Kasay had a 46-yard field-goal attempt blocked by Detroit's Shaun Rogers in the first quarter. Kasay also missed a 40-yarder.

SAINTS: Defensive end Darren Howard sprained his left shoulder, cornerback Keyou Craver injured his right knee and running back Fred McAfee injured his right hamstring.

SEAHAWKS: Offensive tackle Floyd Womack left in the first quarter with a broken bone in his left hand. He returned with his hand and forearm in a cast. ... The team allowed 249 yards rushing to Arizona a week after allowing 221 yards on the ground in a loss to Oakland.

TITANS: Quarterback Steve McNair sustained a mild concussion midway through the second quarter but returned to start the second half. McNair was injured when he ran shoulder-first into an equipment trunk on the Cowboys' sideline.

VIKINGS: Doug Brien made two field goals but missed another as well as two extra points, and coach Mike Tice indicated he'll find another kicker. Brien, nearly cut after missing four of five field goals in the preseason, was supposed to squib his last kickoff in the fourth quarter before Buffalo's tying drive, but he kicked it deep into the return wedge.

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