Rookie John Avery ran for two second-half touchdowns, including a dazzling 71-yard sprint, and the Miami Dolphins rallied to beat the San Francisco 49ers 21-20 Sunday in an injury-marred exhibition.
"I still don't feel comfortable," said Avery, Miami's first-round pick out of Mississippi. "But I got excited when guys were taking shots at me or I was dragging people around. I thought, `OK, I can do this.'"
Dan Marino, who was 12-of-23 for 158 yards and a touchdown, said Avery should give the Dolphins a boost.
"That shows his ability in the open field," Marino said. "I think that's what coach (Jimmy) Johnson is looking for."
Both teams were hit by injuries during the game.
Steve Young, seeing his most extensive playing time of the preseason, threw three touchdown passes to Terrell Owens, who had seven catches for 142 yards.
But Young's last throw, a 26-yard scoring pass to Owens early in the third quarter, left him hurting. Defensive end Trace Armstrong charged in from the left side, and Young's passing hand appeared to hit Armstrong's helmet as he followed through on the throw.
Young trotted off the field grimacing and holding his left wrist. He watched the rest of the game from the sidelines with his hand wrapped in a bandage.
Young, who was 13-of-21 for 232 yards, including a 72-yard scoring strike to
| Terrell Owens scores on a 72-yard play, the first of his thre touchdowns, in the first quarter. (AP) |
"It just stung," Young said. But he conceded he might not play in Friday's exhibition finale at Seattle if the soreness persists.
Young said even if coach Steve Mariucci allows him to play at Seattle, it would only be for a token appearance.
"We'll see. His intention is to play the first team very little," Young said. "I think at this point, we're squarely in the crosshairs of the first (regular season) game, so..."
The extra point following Owens' third score failed when holder Tommy Thompson fumbled the snap, leaving San Francisco (2-2) up 20-7.
Shawn Wooden then intercepted Jim Druckenmiller, who had relieved Young, and Marino led the Dolphins on a 36-yard drive ending in a 2-yard touchdown run by Avery.
Avery, who rushed for 99 yards on 13 carries, pulled Miami into a tie with 12:03 remaining when he broke off left tackle and into the clear. He outran the San Francisco secondary to the end zone. Olindo Mare converted the extra point to put Miami on top.
The Dolphins (3-0), who like the 49ers played their regulars into the third quarter, got a pair of scoring drives from Marino but also had to deal with injuries.
Charles Jordan caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from Marino to tie it at 7-all with 13:58 left in the second quarter but had to leave later in the period with a strained left groin. Fellow wide receiver O.J. McDuffie sustained a bruised left knee and left in the third quarter.
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