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This season ties the record for overtimes

The NFL had its 21st overtime game of the season Sunday, tying the record set in 1995.

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 9, 2002

With three weeks left in the regular season, it seems the record will be broken.

There has been at least one overtime game in 11 of the 14 weeks, and three times there have been at least three overtime games. There were four Oct. 20.

There was even a tie: Atlanta and Pittsburgh played to a stalemate at 34 after neither team could score in the 15-minute extra period. It was the first NFL tie in five seasons.

The overtime record was tied Sunday when Detroit and Arizona finished regulation tied at 20. Former University of South Florida kicker Bill Gramatica won it for the Cardinals on a 42-yard field goal with 10:48 left.

There have been 340 overtime games since the league introduced the system for the 1974 season. That's less than 12 a season, including this one.

But the number of overtime games has increased since '94, even though that was the season the NFL added the 2-point conversion.

49ERS: Running back Garrison Hearst didn't play in the second half against Dallas because of a hyperextended left knee, but he should return next week.

Coach Steve Mariucci said the injury wasn't serious, and he expected Hearst to be ready to play Sunday against Green Bay.

Also, offensive tackle Eric Heitman broke his right hand and will have surgery this week, but Mariucci expects him to play against the Packers. Kick returner Jimmy Williams injured his left knee on a return in the first quarter and will be evaluated today.

Hearst hurt his knee midway through the second quarter at the end of a 15-yard run on fourth and 1. Jeff Garcia scrambled 21 yards for a touchdown on the next play.

After cornerback Mario Edwards went low to tackle Hearst, the running back got up slowly. Trainers rewrapped Hearst's knee on the sideline, but he didn't return to the game. He sat on the bench throughout the second half, when the 49ers rallied.

Hearst had 35 yards on nine carries.

REDSKINS: Quarterback Danny Wuerffel sprained his right shoulder in the third quarter, on a sack by Cornelius Griffin.

Wuerffel fumbled on the play, but the Redskins recovered.

It was the second time this season the former Florida Gator sprained his throwing shoulder; he was hurt in a game against Tennessee on Oct. 6 and did not play again until Nov. 24.

Rookie Patrick Ramsey replaced him.

Also, Marvin Lewis is expected to interview for the coaching job at Michigan State University, and team officials were resigned to enter next season with a new defensive coordinator for the fourth straight year.

Lewis has been a top candidate for NFL coaching jobs in recent years. He was the choice of Bucs GM Rich McKay during the offseason but was passed over after interviewing with the Glazers.

TITANS: Receiver Kevin Dyson will miss the rest of the season after having surgery on his right hamstring. The team had listed him as out for the game against Indianapolis, and Titans coach Jeff Fisher later acknowledged Dyson won't return.

"Kevin Dyson had surgery last Thursday, which will end the season for him on the hamstring," Fisher said.

Dyson hurt his right hamstring making a catch in a 13-12 loss to Baltimore on Nov. 24, and the Titans had listed him as out for the past two games. Fisher only had said the injury was significant.

Dyson had been the Titans' second-leading receiver with 41 catches for 460 yards with four touchdowns. A torn ACL ended his season in 2000.

Also, left guard Zach Piller injured his left calf in the second quarter and left the game. At halftime, the Titans honored retired center Bruce Matthews. He played in 296 games, more than any non-kicker, before ending his 19-year career in July at age 40. Tennessee honored his achievements by retiring his No. 74 jersey and inducting him into their hall of fame. Matthews said it felt strange being back in Nashville for the first time since last season ended. "I think I'm getting a lot more comfortable about not playing," he said. "I am having fun being a fan again."

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