NFL 2022: The Playoffs

The feelgood story notwithstanding, the Bills have been a bit of a shitshow the last several weeks on offense. The two kickoff returns are exciting, but this was still a pretty tight game in spite of them. They had another red zone INT this week which has been a huge issue for Allen the second half of the season. I’ll be pulling for them, but a heart-breaking INT late in the game versus the Chiefs or Bengals would be completely on-brand for them.

Speaking of the Bengals, I’ve been wondering about something concerning the playoffs.

Had the Bengals/Bills game been completed with a Cincinnati victory, the Bengals would have been the #2 seed, rather than the Bills. And they, of course, would then be the host of a potential second-round matchup with Buffalo. Seems to me that a coin flip should then be conducted in order to determine who will actually host that game, but I don’t believe there’s been any talk about that possibility.

It does appear to be an unaccounted for circumstance. It’s not like their seedings make them unlikely to meet; if this weekend goes chalk then next week will be 1v4 and 2v3. And you’re right, the canceled game would have determined who has home field in that 2v3 matchup.

EDIT: Actually, if the Bills and Bengals both win they guaranteed face each other next week. The only way they don’t is if either of them loses this week.

There definitely has been talk about it. Burrow specifically referenced it in his postgame presser. It certainly was accounted for, but I don’t quite know what the rationale was for not doing it.

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.