WASHINGTON — Believe it or not, Washington has the best overtime record in NFL history, which made Sunday’s crushing overtime loss at the hands of the undefeated Atlanta Falcons even more heartbreaking.
Even after the loss, Washington remains the team with the highest overtime winning percentage in NFL history at 62.5 percent. Washington is 25-15-1 since its first overtime game, a 30-24 win over the Dallas Cowboys in 1975.
On Sunday, an absolutely wild fourth quarter in Atlanta included five separate scores, a Falcons touchdown with 24 seconds remaining, and a game-tying 52-yard field goal by Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins as time expired.
During the first possession of the extra period, Kirk Cousins threw an interception that Atlanta’s Robert Alford returned 59 yards for the game-winning score.
The loss drops Washington to 2-3 in 2015, and a full game behind the New York Giants for the NFC East lead.
If misery loves company, Washington fans had plenty of friends on Sunday, as the burgundy and gold was one of three teams that blew a fourth quarter lead and lost in overtime.
Both the Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks lost double-digit leads in Week 5, marking the second straight weekend with at least three overtime games, an NFL first.
The most overtime games played in a single week was five — Week 6 of the 1995 season — and six overtime games in a two-week span ties an NFL record set during Weeks 6 and 7 of the 1995 season.
But three overtime games in one week is still a rare occurrence: it hasn’t happened since the 2010 season.
There have been 560 overtime games since 1974 when the NFL began using overtime in regular season games. That averages out to less than one overtime game per week.
Considering the sudden-death element to the NFL’s overtime rules, and that overtime tends to reflect an evenly played game, luck is certainly a strong component of overtime winning percentage.
Given that, it shouldn’t be a surprise that 27 of the 32 NFL teams have overtime winning rates ranging from 40 percent to 60 percent.
Only one team besides Washington has a winning percentage above 60, the Arizona Cardinals at 60.98 percent.
The Denver Broncos have played the most overtime games in NFL history, seeing 47 games go beyond regulation, two more than the Minnesota Vikings, who are second with 45.
The Houston Texans have played just 13 overtime games, the fewest in the league, and also had the worst success — a 31 percent winning percentage — in those games.
Washington will next put its league-best overtime record on the line on Sunday afternoon when Jay Gruden and his team travel to East Rutherford, N.J., to do battle with Darrelle Revis and the 3-1 New York Jets. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. on FOX.