NFL 2022: The Playoffs

The Associated Press released their All-Pro teams. My 49ers have six selections. Four on the first team (T.Williams, N.Bosa, F.Warner, T.Hufanga) and two on the second (G.Kittle, G.Odum). CMC and Dre Greenlaw just missed the cut.

Nobody for the Giants on the first team, but the second team has LT Andrew Thomas, which is nice to see, and also Dexter Lawrence.

I like how Sauce Gardener is actually listed as Sauce Gardener.

The Packers have one first-team All Pro: kick returner Keisean Nixon, who didn’t even start returning kickoffs for them until partway through the year, but wound up helping to revive what had been a really lousy special teams corps for the past several seasons.

He’s probably growing a lot of tomatoes.

No Seahawks on the list but that’s okay; they have 3 folks in the Pro Bowl, one of which is a rookie and the other is Geno Smith. That’s not bad.

The Dolphins confirmed that rookie QB Skylar Thompson will start in Sunday’s playoff game with the Bills; Teddy Bridgewater, who has been working his way back from a broken finger, will be the backup, with Tua Tagovailoa still in concussion protocol.

Meanwhile, after a few days of uncertainty, Rams head coach Sean McVay has told the team that he plans to remain as coach.

Thread to talk about the first weekend games: NFL 2022: Super Wildcard Week

Last week, the Bears named Kevin Warren as their new President/CEO; Warren had been the commissioner of the Big Ten, and prior to that, was chief operating officer of the Vikings (where he led the construction of their U.S. Bank Stadium).

Yesterday, Warren shared some information on the timeline for the Bears’ planning related to their pending purchase of the Arlington Park property, in northwest suburban Arlington Heights, with the intent to build a new stadium, and other amenities, there:

  • The team is planning to close the purchase this quarter (i.e., by the end of March)
  • Warren said that he anticipates being able to talk more about the timeline for stadium construction (and opening) in six months

Apologies if this has already been discussed, but the playoff overtime rules have changed. Specifically, now both teams have an opportunity to possess the ball, regardless of whether the first team scores a touchdown. After those 2 possessions, if the game is still tied it becomes sudden death. The only way the game can end on a single possession now is if the first possession results in a safety. Which makes sense - the team scored upon has to kick off back to the scoring team anyway, so they could just take 4 knees to win.

One thing that isn’t specifically called out in the rules (that I could find) is that the phrase “opportunity to possess the ball” isn’t defined. I think that means that if the kicking team (on a kickoff or punt) recovers the ball, that counts as a possession for the receiving team even if they never picked up the ball. So if the first team scores, then runs an onside kick and recovers it, they win automatically. Or more likely, if the first team (team A) doesn’t score, then punts, but team B muffs it and team A recovers, that counts as team B’s possession and it’s now sudden death, with team A in excellent position to score.

Correct. Here’s the rule:

The opportunity to possess applies only during kicking plays. A kickoff is the opportunity to possess for the receiving team. If the kicking team legally recovers the kick, the receiving team is considered to have had its opportunity. A punt or field goal attempt that crosses the line of scrimmage and is muffed by the receiving team is considered to be an opportunity to possess for the receiving team. Normal touching rules by the kicking team apply.

And I guess it’s safe to assume that if possession changes twice in a single play, that counts as well, right? If Team A throws a pass, Team B intercepts, but the interceptor fumbles and Team A scoops it up, we’re now into a sudden death situation as well.

That’s a tricky question.

Here’s a scenario; let’s say Team A kicks the ball to Team B. Team B runs with the ball and the ball is knocked loose. Team A grabs it, and starts to run with it, but drops it in the confusion. Team B then scoops it up again, and is able to run it in for a score. That could mean the game is over already from the initial kickoff.

But I assume any turnover is considered a change of possession, no matter how brief that possession is, and it doesn’t matter if they end the play maintaining possession or not.

Correct, possession is defined as “actual possession of the ball with complete control.” So if you’re chasing a fumble and touch it but never fully control it, it isn’t considered a possession. If you hold it and then fumble, it is a possession.

The NFL has this exact example in their overtime rules explanation.

A.R. 16.14 FUMBLE
Third-and-5 on A30. On the opening possession of overtime, A2 takes a handoff and runs to the B35 where he fumbles the ball. B2 recovers the ball and runs to the B40 where he is hit and fumbles. A5 recovers at the B41.
Ruling: A’s ball, first-and-10 on B41. Both teams have possessed the ball and the first team to score wins.

Yes, that is my understanding as well. If you don’t want to go to sudden death, don’t fumble in overtime. Not that anybody ever plans on fumbling.

Thanks for that, that makes it pretty explicit. No ambiguity. :+1:

Which also means that you can have a situation where team A scores on their opening kickoff (either a field goal or a TD in the new playoffs rules). The Team B gets the ball. During a play, Team B fumbles, Team A picks it up, has possession, but then fumbles it back to Team B. The game is now over since both teams had a possession and one team already scored.

They might even whistle it dead the moment Team A gains possession.

I was going to say the same thing. The requirements for having a “win” in overtime have been met at that point and the game is over.

It’s the same reason why teams currently don’t kick an extra point in overtime; for now, a touchdown in overtime wins the game regardless of anything else, so the game is already over before any extra points can be attempted.

For this year’s playoffs even if you score a touchdown the other team still gets the ball to try and match. So we could see the league’s first-ever overtime PAT.

As long as it’s not Dallas who scores the TD.

Can’t do that, legally. As long as the ball is live, play must continue.

Certainly, Team A should take a knee or go down or out of bounds as soon as they gain possession, but the officials cannot blow the play dead until the play is over.

ETA: As an example from the college ranks, which, I know, is not quite the same: this season, the game between Kansas and West Virginia went into overtime. Kansas scored a TD and XP on its initial possession. Then, on its first possession, West Virginia threw an interception. The Kansas cornerback who intercepted the pass returned it 80+ yards for a TD. Once he gained possession of the ball, the officials did not blow the whistle, but let the play continue to its conclusion.