Breaking down Seattle Seahawks punter Michael Dickson’s play of a lifetime

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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I’ve covered the NFL since 1984. I’ve never seen a punt—nor a special-teams play—as incredible as the Michael Dickson double-punt in the Rams-Seahawks game Thursday night.

Four things made it that way:

• Dickson, the Australia native, got the punt blocked late in the third quarter, picked it up, and punted it again, hurriedly, in an oblong grip. It went for 69 yards.

• It was the way Dickson picked up the spinning blocked punt. He picked it up one-handed, in full trot, to avoid getting buried. “My Aussie background kicked in,” Dickson told me Saturday. “We pick up the ball sometimes on the run [in Australian rules football].”

• The punt blocker, rookie special-teams demon Jamir Jones, was playing his first game for the Rams after 30 teams passed him on waivers from Pittsburgh a week earlier. The Rams, number 31 in waiver priority, got Jones. The drama never would have happened without that waiver claim, and without Jones’ play.

• The play drew a flag from line judge Mark Steinkerchner, who ruled Dickson punted from beyond the line of scrimmage. The replay official upstairs and the New York officiating command center both reviewed the play and the decision was made by the Ronald Torbert crew to pick up the flag because it did not appear to them that Dickson was clearly over the line.

The play was so nuts that one of the foremost experts in officiating, ever, ex-NFL VP of Officiating and current FOX analyst Mike Pereira, got the rules interpretation wrong in real time. “You can advance [a blocked punt],” Pereira said Thursday night on national TV, “but no, you can’t kick it again.”

I’ve been asking Pereira about rules for 23 years, since he began honchoing NFL officiating. He’s great. He’s the Oracle. Which is why, on Saturday, he was still crushed by his error.

“It torments me,” Pereira said. “It kills me. And now I’ll never see that play again.”

I doubt any of us will.

Whew. Where to start? How about at the 3:00 mark of the third quarter, Rams up 16-7, Seahawks with fourth-and-14 at exactly the Seattle 21-yard line. Dickson trotted out to punt and stationed himself at the Seattle 7-yard line.

3:00. Long-snapper Tyler Ott shot a perfect snap back to Dickson.

2:59. Punt-rusher Jones burst though the guard-center gap of the Seattle line. There’s a reason Seattle was surprised to see Jones in this position, and it’s because this was his first game as a Ram. The undrafted free-agent rookie for Pittsburgh got cut in late September. Rams scout Brian Xanders loved him in preseason tape, so director of pro personnel John McKay (son of Falcons president Rich) recommended they claim Jones. The NFL’s waiver priority system—based on the current year’s standings—went into effect after Week 3. The Rams were one of five 3-0 teams after three weeks, putting them at the bottom of the waiver priority system. The Rams were actually 31st that week in waiver priority, based on strength of schedule, meaning that 30 teams passed on Jones. Now he was sprinting unblocked toward Dickson. “I felt him,” Dickson said. “I knew he was gonna block it as soon as I started swinging my leg.”

2:58. THUMP-THUMP! The punt and the block happened in a millisecond. Jones smothered it at the Seattle 11-yard line. Dickson: “I knew I had to try to find the ball.”

2:56. Dickson ran to his left, toward the spinning punt. “I felt the guy who blocked it a few steps behind me,” Dickson said. Amazing: It was blocked at the 11, skittered sideways, and Dickson sprinted and leaned down as he got close. The ball was exactly at the 11. Would Dickson try to bat it 10 yards to the boundary, out of bounds, to avoid getting bashed? Would he try to pick it up with Jones steaming from the rear?

2:55. The ball was spinning like a top. Dickson’s right hand scooped it. He grew up in Sydney playing Australian rules football, with 18 players a side, and six points awarded for every side-swiped kick through goal posts. Dickson got used to competition chasing free balls. “I knew I had to take a risk on the pickup,” Dickson said. “I didn’t have time. In the Australian game, the ball doesn’t spin that way. It’s generally just on the ground, so scooping it is not a real problem. In the off-season when I practice, I play around with a football like an Aussie rules ball. They’re not exactly the same, but similar. And so I have been scooping balls off the ground—just not when they’re spinning like that. But like I said, I didn’t have the time, so I had to take a risk.”

2:53. Dickson wanted to run for the first down, but there was no way he could have run to the first-down marker at the 35-yard line. Four Rams were in a line at around the 23, waiting to bury him. So at about the 17, he prepared to kick it, Aussie style, sideway. “I didn’t know the rule exactly,” he said Saturday. “I’ve asked [special-teams coaches] before, and I’ve never gotten a [definitive] answer, but I figure even it gets penalized, we’ll get to punt it again, even though it’ll be from worse field position. That’s better than giving it to the Rams deep in our territory.”

2:52. Rather than punt the normal way, straight on, Dickson, straddling the 21-yard line, held the football oblong in his hands and took a sideways swipe at it with his right leg. Watch it a few times. The ease of the leg swing was striking, sort of like how Ernie Els used to swing so calmly and hit the golf ball a mile. Dickson: “In the offseason, I kick footballs a lot more like Australian-style, warming up, just having fun.” As Dickson took this easy swing and punted it oddly, Steinkerchner, right on the 21, threw his yellow flag. Clearly, the line judge thought Dickson was over the line. Meanwhile, the science of kicking a low line drive that way means if it hits the ground and isn’t caught or touched down, it could roll for a while.

2:48. The line drive hit at the Rams’ 30 and bounced. “That’s coming back,” said Troy Aikman on FOX.

2:47. Another bounce. “That’s coming back,” said Joe Buck.

2:45. Bounced again, and safety Ugo Amadi surrounded the ball.

2:42. Roll, roll. Amadi downed it at the 11-yard line. Blocked at the Seattle 11, recovered at the Rams’ 11. That’s a change of 78 yards of field position. Just a stunning turn of events.

“That’s one of the great kicking plays in the history of the league,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll, who should know, said later. He’s 70, and a football maven.

Eighteen seconds of a thrill ride, and it wasn’t over. Now the officials would rule.

A league source told me that both of the key administrative people involved in the adjudication of the play—NFL senior VP Walt Anderson, in the New York command center, and replay official Saleem Choudhry—thought Dickson’s back heel was very close to or on the line of scrimmage. Just like with a quarterback, the entire body and the football must be beyond the line for an official to flag the person with the ball for being over the line. This season, the league has added administrative duties and freedom to communicate with the referee between plays to the job of replay official. So Choudhry and Anderson could both speak to ref Ronald Torbert. And one or both apparently told Torbert the right call here would be to pick up the flag. NBC officiating consultant Terry McAulay, the former NFL referee, told me: “There was not a single angle that showed definitively that the entire body is over the line.” I watched it 10 times and it appeared he was over the line, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Too close.

Rams coach Sean McVay, during the delay for the officials to discuss the call, had the play explained to him by the officials. “They reviewed it in New York,” McVay said after the game. “They said his foot was on the line, he wasn’t totally over the line of scrimmage, so they said he could [punt the ball legally]. I said [to the officials], ‘You can kick the ball twice, huh?’ I guess you learn something every night.”

The confusion for Pereira came in the wording of the play, which says in the rule book that if a ball is punted once, crosses the line of scrimmage and crosses back behind the line, it cannot be punted again. But it is legal to punt it twice as long as the ball does not cross the line of scrimmage after the first punt. “It ranks as the weirdest play I’ve ever seen, because I’ve been consumed by it since it happened,” Pereira said. “I’ve never seen a play and a rule and a situation like that one.”

The amazing thing, to me, is that Dickson just handled this bizarre play with such cool. “Crazy,” he said. “But really, it was just like a normal Aussie rules play, something I’ve done since I was 9. What’s important at a time like that is to rely on your instincts. Don’t overthink. Just play like you always have. Stay calm. Do whatever you’ve always done to be successful.”

Good advice for life, and for executing a play the NFL has never seen in 102 years.

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes: All-time QB matchups, records, stats

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It’s Patrick Mahomes vs Tom Brady this Sunday night on NBC and Peacock as the Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) head to Raymond James Stadium to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) in a rematch of Super Bowl 55. See below for additional information on how to watch the big game between the greatest of all time and the heir to the throne.

RELATED:  How to watch Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers – TV, live stream info, preview for Sunday Night Football game

Mahomes is currently in his fifth season as the Chiefs starting quarterback. The 2019 Super Bowl MVP signed a 10-year, $450 million extension in July 2020, which was the richest contract in American sports history by total value. Over the last four seasons (2018-2021), Mahomes has led the league in both passing yards (18,707) and touchdown passes (151). The 27-year-old looks to lead the Chiefs to their seventh straight AFC West Title. Kansas City is the only team to ever win six consecutive AFC West titles, which is tied for the 3rd-longest division title streak of any team in NFL history.

At 45 years old Tom Brady, who already holds 7 Super Bowl titles–the most in NFL history, is currently playing in his 23rd NFL season–one that many thought he wouldn’t see after an unpredictable offseason filled with rumorsretirement, and unretirement. But the greatest of all time is back–this time without the comfort of his longtime trusted TE Rob Gronkowski–and is not only facing the challenge of playing with a banged-up offensive line but is also adjusting to the turnover at the WR and TE positions from this offseason.

RELATED: NFL QBs with most Super Bowl wins – Where does Tom Brady rank ahead of Super Bowl 2023

This Sunday night’s game will mark the sixth meeting between Mahomes and Brady. The previous five matchups have been both high-stakes and high-scoring affairs as Brady holds a slight advantage over Mahomes. Here are all of their head-to-head matchups.

Every past matchup between Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes (3-2 overall record):

  1. Oct. 14, 2018 (Week 6) – Patriots defeated the Chiefs 43-40. Brady threw for 340 yards and 1 TD. Mahomes threw for 352 yards, 4 TD, and 2 INT.
  2. Jan. 20, 2019 (AFC Championship Game) – Patriots defeated the Chiefs 37-31, in overtime. Brady threw 348 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INT. Mahomes finished with 295 YDS, and 3 TD
  3. Dec. 8, 2019 (Week 14) – Chiefs defeated the Patriots 23-16. Mahomes totaled 283 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. Brady had 169 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.
  4. Nov. 29, 2020 (Week 12) – Chiefs beat the Buccaneers 27-24. Mahomes threw for 462 yards with 3 TD. Brady finished with 345 yards, 3 TD, and 2 INT.
  5. Feb. 7, 2021 (Super Bowl 55) – Buccaneers defeated the Chiefs 31-9 playing on their home field at Raymond James Stadium. Brady threw for 201 yards and 3 TD and was named Super Bowl MVP for a record 5th time.

RELATED: NFL QBs with most Super Bowl wins – Where does Tom Brady rank ahead of Super Bowl 2023

In an interview with NBC’s Maria Taylor for Football Night in America, Mahomes discusses the trademarks of a Brady-led team.

“First off, they take advantage of mistakes,” Mahomes said. “If you make a mistake on the field, if I throw an interception or if you fumble, or if something like that happens, he’s going to make you pay and get points on the board and then he’s going to manage the game.”

Mahomes also knows that while Brady has a knack for capitalizing on mistakes, he does not often make many of his own.

“He’s going to make some plays when he needs to make plays, but at the same time he’s not going to make that big mistake. So you have to go out there and play a near perfect football game to win. Another thing, he’s never out of it and I think that’s something I try to pride myself on as well is never being out of the game. So whenever you play against a Tom Brady-led team, you make sure you keep that foot down on the pedal and try to do whatever you can to finish the game off.”

Patrick Mahomes absorbs Tom Brady’s lessons

Despite the difference in age and experience, Brady and Mahomes are alike in their impact on the game.

“You want to not like Tom but he’s just like the best guy,” Mahomes said. “So it’s hard to not like him, but to be able to play in golf tournaments, and him give me kind of advice and stuff like that. I mean, he’s the GOAT. You want to learn from the best and it’s really cool to have that relationship with him.”

Even when Brady and Mahomes have faced off in high-stakes postseason games, the advice continues. The two met in the 2019 AFC Championship game, when Brady was still playing for the New England Patriots. Both quarterbacks delivered stellar performances, but Brady managed to lead the Patriots to an overtime victory.

Following this loss, Mahomes tells Taylor that he is upset and spends a lot of time after the game sitting in the locker room. But when Mahomes finally walks out, Brady is waiting for him.

“He could be celebrating” Mahomes said. “He’s going to the Super Bowl and everything like that, and all he said to me, ‘Hey, just keep doing it how you’re doing it. You’re doing it the right way.’ And as a young quarterback, you just go out there and play and try to have fun and do whatever you can to put your team in the best position to win.

But when the GOAT’s saying that, he’s saying you’re doing it the right way, it shows you that you are doing it the right way. And so that was big for me”

While Brady has not revealed all his football wisdom to Mahomes, the Chiefs’ signal-caller looks forward to learning more.

“He won’t give me all the secrets yet,” Mahomes said. “But hopefully one day I’ll get the secrets and can put those into my game.”

Patrick Mahomes embraces the Tom Brady mindset

While Brady and Mahomes are competitors, their respect from one another extends beyond the football field into their personal lives. Mahomes and his wife Brittany, have a young girl, Sterling, and are expecting a baby boy.

“You want to be able to be a family man and be with your family and you want to be able to do these different things, where you’re going into businesses and then helping out and shooting commercials and, at the same time, keeping football first.”

One of the biggest lessons Mahomes has taken from Brady is the importance of prioritizing football in addition to consistently improving at the game.

“That’s the greatness in Tom Brady is no matter how much off the field stuff he does, football is always the main priority and he makes sure to keep it that way,” Mahomes said. “And so you watch that and then at the same time you go back to him on the field and he’s always getting better. I feel like every single year he finds something he can get better at. And that’s what I want to do, is I want to keep getting better as my career goes on so that I can play hopefully, maybe not as long as him, but pretty long as well.”


How to watch the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

  • Where: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida
  • When: Sunday, October 2
  • Start Time: 8:20 p.m. ET; live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night In America
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Stream liveWatch live on Peacock or with the NBC Sports App

What time is kickoff for the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers game?

Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET.

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

For all your NFL jersey and gear needs ahead of the 2022 season, click here!


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.

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!

How to watch Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: TV, live stream info, preview for Sunday Night Football game

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It’s the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday, October 2 in a rematch of Super Bowl LV where Tom Brady earned his seventh ring. Sunday’s matchup marks the sixth meeting between Patrick Mahomes and Brady with the 45-year-old veteran holding a 3-2 edge in the series.

RELATED: Tom Brady’s Super Bowl wins, rings, MVPs, losses: Every appearance, NFL stats, records

Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock with Football Night in America. See below for additional information on how to watch the game.

RELATED:Will Tom Brady make playing beyond 40 more common for quarterbacks?

Football Night in America will feature a weekly segment hosted by former NFL quarterback Chris Simms and sports betting and fantasy pioneer Matthew 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: FMIA Week 3 – Broncos’ Coaching Experiment Pays Off, Dolphins Win ‘Beast’ Game, and What We Learned About the NFL in September

Be sure to start your NFL Sunday with Matthew Berry’s Fantasy Football Pregame show beginning at 11 AM ET on Peacock and the NFL on NBC YouTube channel.

Kansas City Chiefs

Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) picked up their first loss of the season last Sunday after falling 20-17 to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kansas City struggled offensively in Week 3 as the team was held to just three points in the second half. The Chiefs are still working to fill the void in the passing game since trading star WR Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins in the offseason but according to Mahomes, that doesn’t excuse Sunday’s loss.

RELATED: Patrick Mahomes –  I don’t expect growing pains, offense has to gel together

“I don’t expect any growing pains,” Mahomes told reporters at ESPN.com. “Obviously have new players and you don’t know everybody’s going to respond to tough situations. . . . We’ve got to gel all together. It starts with me. There were certain throws I was putting on guys’ back hips instead of in front of him. There were certain situations where we were just barely off of it.”

Mahomes, who signed a 10-year, $450 million contract extension, in July 2020–the richest contract in American sports history by total value–is in his fifth season as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback and hopes to lead Kansas City to its seventh straight AFC West title. The Chiefs are the only team to ever win six consecutive AFC West titles, which is tied for the 3rd-longest division title streak of any team in NFL history.

RELATED: Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes: All-time QB matchups, records, stats

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brady and the Buccaneers (2-1) are also coming off their first loss of the season–a 14-12 defeat at home from Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers last Sunday afternoon. With WRs Mike Evans (suspension) and Chris Godwin (hamstring)–Brady’s top two targets–and Julio Jones (knee) out in Week 3, Tampa Bay’s offense racked up a total of just 285 yards in the loss. Additionally, the team is still adapting to the turnover at the WR and TE positions from this offseason. Despite some challenges on offense, Tampa Bay’s defense has remained consistent and currently leads the NFL in scoring defense (9.0 pts/gm) and also ranks in the top 5 in total defense.

RELATED: NFL QBs with most Super Bowl wins – Where does Tom Brady rank ahead of Super Bowl 2023


How to watch the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

  • Where: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida
  • When: Sunday, October 2
  • Start Time: 8:20 p.m. ET; live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night In America
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Stream liveWatch live on Peacock or with the NBC Sports App

What time is kickoff for the Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers game?

Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET.

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

For all your NFL jersey and gear needs ahead of the 2022 season, click here!


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!