Introducing the Watermelon Kick: Inside the craziest onside kick ever

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Fantastic day of football. Weekend, really. Start on Thursday. Coming-out party for Joe Burrow, 23 years old, putting up 30 points for a Cincinnati team with a lot of holes, losing to 25-year-old Baker Mayfield. On Sunday, Jared Goff (25), Kyler Murray (23) and Lamar Jackson (23) were in total control in dominant wins. Patrick Mahomes (25) needed to do some Patrick Mahomes things in overtime, Josh Allen (24) launched gorgeous and effortless deep balls for Buffalo, Dak Prescott (27) threw for 450 yards to win the craziest game of his life, and Wilson (the old man at 31) capped everything with the second five-TD-pass game of his career Sunday night. That game—Seattle 35, New England 30—definitely should not have been on TVs in any cardiac units around the United States.

The message this morning is three-fold:

1. The game misses the fans tremendously. But the drama Sunday, all the way till a half-hour before midnight Eastern Time when Cam Newton was upended on the last play of the game two yards shy of the winning touchdown in Seattle, was as good as it gets.

2. Zero players of the approximately 2,272 active and practice-squad players on rosters have tested positive for COVID-19 in the first two weeks of the season, a remarkable achievement. Though the injury bug is awful, the COVID bug is nonexistent—so far.

3. The quarterbacks just keep on coming. The over-35 set—Brady, Rivers, Roethlisberger, Rodgers—went 4-0 Sunday, winning by an average of two touchdowns a game. But the QB farm system continues to churn out quality. Eleven of the 13 quarterbacks drafted in the top 10 picks over the past five years started over the weekend. Justin Herbert, the 11th, who looks like he’s 17 and in bad need of a haircut, went throw for throw with Mahomes most of the day at SoFi.

The play of the day: the Watermelon Kick.

“That’s what we call it,” Prescott said with some glee 90 minutes after the game. “The ball just kind of sits there like a watermelon, not on a tee.”

When I talk to players after games, quite often the answers are pretty plain, and they speak in press-conference-speak. But Prescott was fired up in his car driving home with his girlfriend. “Amen, AMEN!” he said about the win. “We could have been 0-2!

Dallas was down 39-24 with six minutes left. The Cowboys scored but missed the two-point conversion. “So we knew we needed two scores in the last five minutes,” Prescott said. “Not easy.” The Cowboys burned their timeouts and forced Atlanta to punt with three minutes left. In 68 seconds, they drove to a TD, Prescott running in his third TD of the day, and the extra point made it 39-37, Atlanta.

Dallas needed to recover the onside kick, or the team would be 0-2. Here came kicker Greg Zuerlein out for the kick. With no tee. Prescott described the next few seconds in vivid detail.

“I have never been in a game like this,” he said. “Maybe the playoff game my rookie year against Green Bay, but we lost that one, and it didn’t come down to a play like this one. It was incredible, honestly. We’ve seen it done in practice. [Offensive coordinator] Kellen Moore saw it get set up, and [quarterbacks coach] Doug Nussmeier told me, ‘Watermelon kick!’ “

It’s actually an ingenious idea. Because players can’t line up more than one yard from the spot of the kickoff (they used to be able to get a five-yard running start), kicking team players can’t get the kind of running start they used to on onside kicks. So Zuerlein and special-teams coach John Fassel had practiced a form of the onside kick where Zuerlein would kick a spinning ball diagonally, and fairly slowly. Cowboy players could run to the skidding ball and attempt to block out, as on a basketball rebound, any opposing players who might be trying to get to the ball.

Obviously, the Falcons hadn’t seen it before. They peered at the spinning, slow-moving ball like it was diseased and they didn’t want to touch it.

“I asked our punter, Chris Jones, why [the Falcons] wouldn’t just dive on it,” Prescott told me, “and he said the way it spins makes it really hard to do that. They were probably afraid that if they jumped on it, it might get loose and we’d recover.”

Better that than what happened: Dallas cornerback C.J. Goodwin, once the ball traveled exactly 10 yards downfield, jumped it and won a wrestling match for it with three Falcons. Prescott’s 24-yard dart to rookie CeeDee Lamb (“CeeDee is smart as hell, great feel for the game,” Prescott said) helped set up Zeurlein’s winning field goal with four seconds left.

It all was made possible by the Watermelon Kick.

Prescott: “In the locker room after the game, I saw [guard] Zack Martin, and we both said the same thing to each other: I don’t know if you realize what this means! No way we could start 0-2. It just couldn’t happen. We lost so many guys on offense. Three tackles, our tight end, Blake Jarwin. But you know that next-man-up mentality. We’ve got it here. We believe in the guys behind the starters. And I will tell you, they played great today.

“The other thing that was important today—not just the win—but the way coach McCarthy was with us at halftime. That was an important time for our team. We were down big [29-10 at halftime] and he said, ‘Forget the final score. Let’s see the team we’ve got out there in the second half. Let’s see the men we’ve got.’ He’s easy to follow.”

Amazing. Prescott threw for 450. He ran in three scores. No talk about that. Just the crazy onside kick, and an early season saved from the cliff.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.

When do the 2022 NFL Playoffs start: dates, schedule, playoff format, overtime rules, and more

The 2022 NFL playoffs begin on January 14! Here is everything you need to know before then!
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The 2022 NFL playoffs are quickly approaching and this year’s format will once again include a total of 14 teams –seven from each conference with the top seeds automatically getting a first-round bye. Six games will take place on Wild Card Weekend under the following format for each conference:

2022 NFL Wild Card Weekend Format :

  • No. 2 Seed (host) vs No. 7 Seed
  • No. 3 Seed (host) vs No. 6 Seed
  • No. 4 Seed (host) vs No. 5 Seed

The Wild Card winners will advance to the Divisional round where they will face the top seeds in each conference. See below to find out the 2022 NFL playoff format and schedule.

When do the 2022 NFL Playoffs Start?

The 2022 NFL playoffs begin on Saturday, January 14, 2023.

2022 NFL Playoff Schedule

Be sure to check back for times and teams but until then follow all the NFL action on ProFootballTalk!

Wild Card Weekend Schedule:

  • Saturday, January 14
  • Sunday, January 15
  • Monday, January 16

Divisional Weekend:

  • Saturday, January 21
  • Sunday, January 22

Conference Championships:

  • Sunday, January 29

When is the Super Bowl?

This year’s Super Bowl will take place at State Farm Stadium–home of the Arizona Cardinals– in Glendale, Arizona on Sunday, February 12 at 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox. The last time the Super Bowl was contested in Arizona was in 2015, Super Bowl XLIX when the New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks.

How will overtime work in the 2022 NFL playoffs?

After Kansas City’s exciting 42-36 overtime victory over the Bills in last year’s divisional round, when Kansas City scored a touchdown on the first possession of OT denying the Bills a chance to touch the ball, the league has made a change to its postseason rules. Each team will now have an opportunity to possess the ball in overtime. See below for the NFL’s official postseason OT rules:

2022 NFL Playoffs Overtime Rules:

  • If the score is still tied at the end of an overtime period — or if the second team’s initial possession has not ended — the teams will play another overtime period. Play will continue regardless of how many overtime periods are needed for a winner to be determined.
  • There will be a two-minute intermission between each overtime period. There will not be a halftime intermission after the second period.
  • The captain who lost the first overtime coin toss will either choose to possess the ball or select which goal his team will defend unless the team that won the coin toss deferred that choice.
  • Each team will have an opportunity to possess the ball in overtime.
  • Each team gets three timeouts during a half.
  • The same timing rules that apply at the end of the second and fourth regulation periods also apply at the end of a second or fourth overtime period.
  • If there is still no winner at the end of a fourth overtime period, there will be another coin toss, and play will continue until a winner is declared.

RELATED: NFL overtime rules and procedures


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

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The 2022 NFL Football season is finally back in session. This Sunday night Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins (8-4) will battle it out with Justin Herbert and the LA Chargers (6-6) as the race for the playoffs heats up in the AFC. The Dolphins currently hold one of the AFC’s Wild Card spots and sit one game behind the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East. The Chargers are one game behind the NY Jets for the division’s final playoff spot.

Sunday night’s game was originally scheduled to feature a match-up between the Chiefs vs Broncos but the NFL made the decision to flex the game early last week. The Chiefs vs Broncos game will now take place at 4:05 p.m. ET.

Live coverage of the Dolphins vs Chargers game begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America. NBC and Peacock have got you covered with access to this week’s games as well as every Sunday Night Football game this season.

RELATED: FMIA Week 13 – Brock Purdy Gets The Save And The Starting Job; Burrow Still Owns Mahomes And The Chiefs

This year’s Sunday Night Football coverage will feature Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth in the booth and Melissa Stark on the sidelines. Live coverage begins every Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America with the talented group of Maria Taylor, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Jason Garrett, Chris Simms, Jac Collinsworth, Mike Florio, and Matthew Berry. Berry, a fantasy football industry pioneer, will also appear on Peacock’s exclusive NFL post-game show, Sunday Night Football Final.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

Football Night in America will also feature a weekly segment hosted by Simms and sports betting and Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Playoff Picture Week 13 – Standings, clinching scenarios ahead of Colts vs Cowboys on SNF

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – Broncos do just enough to pull off 11-10 win over 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs dominate Bucs 41-31

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Justin Tucker’s last-play field goal delivers 19-17 win for Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Eagles intercept Cooper Rush three times in 26-17 win

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Kenny Pickett throws two late INTs, allowing Miami to escape with 16-10 win

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Bills beat Packers 27-17 for fourth win in a row

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Patrick Mahomes leads Chiefs to comeback overtime victory over Titans

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – 49ers dominate Chargers in second half to win 22-16

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Travis Kelce’s third touchdown leads Chiefs to late comeback win

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Vikings improve to 9-2 with 33-26 victory over Patriots

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers lose Aaron Rodgers, another game as Eagles rush for 363 in 40-33 win

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Cowboys Too Much For Colts In Fourth Quarter Of A 54-19 Beatdown

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Dolphins at Chargers

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Giants at Commanders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!