Inside most unlikely play of year: Panthers vs. Falcons

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FMIA has partnered with Next Gen Stats, the league’s new generation of advanced metrics and statistics, with data collected from 250 tracking devices per game on players, officials, pylons and footballs. I use NGS to help tell a deeper story about a play in the game.

Of all the interesting that happened this weekend, the most compelling was in the Carolina-Atlanta game, a game with two supposed also-rans exchanging blow after blow in a very strange 37-34 victory for the Falcons.

So why am I featuring this game in the analytics-based section of my column with deep analysis from Next Gen Stats? It’s because the game featured the most unlikely play of this NFL season so far—by far.

It was so weird.

Atlanta led 34-28 with 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Carolina had the ball, first down, at its 38-yard line with no timeouts left. Quarterback P.J. Walker, not noted for his arm strength, dropped back to pass out of the shotgun and from his 35-, let fly a long bomb down the left side of the field, toward wideout D.J. Moore, who basically was in a scramble drill, the type of route a receiver runs when a quarterback just wants his targets to run to an open space. Moore was covered by a linebacker, Rashaan Evans, and cornerback Dean Marlowe as Walker let the ball fly.

The ball traveled 67.6 yards in the air, per Next Gen, ridiculously long for a quarterback not noted for a big arm.

When the ball left Walker’s hands, per Net Gen, it had a completion probability of 11.5 percent.

Marlowe was within 0.8 yards of Moore when the ball was on both of them—considered close coverage.

This was not a Hail Mary. This was a play that Walker was legitimately trying to hit Moore on.

“I am shocked he threw it that far,” Atlanta coach Arthur Smith told me. “I thought it would just die at the 10.”

“I’ve never seen a better throw than that,” Evans, one of the cover guys, said.

Moore caught it a couple of yards deep in the end zone, with Marlowe draped on him. The 11.5 percent chance of completion was the most unlikely of any TD pass in the NFL this season, according to Next Gen.

“It’s one of the greatest backyard plays I’ve ever seen,” Smith said. “It took a year off my life. Give P.J. Walker credit—he made one of the great throws a quarterback can make.”

Part II:

Moore took his helmet off to celebrate. It’s a dumb rule, but it is a rule: A player is flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct if he takes his helmet off in the field of play to celebrate. This was a no-doubter. The touchdown made it 34-34, with the PAT to come. Now, the Falcons had a choice: Enforce the 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on the extra point, making Eddy Pineiro try a 48-yard kick for the extra point, or enforce it on the ensuing kickoff, making Pineiro kick off from his 20- instead of his 35-.

Smith discussed it with special-teams coach Marquice Williams. They had about 20 seconds to decide before having to inform ref Shawn Hochuli. “Pineiro has a history of missing between 40 and 49,” Smith told me. I looked it up: At the moment of decision, Pineiro in his career was 19 of 20 from 30-to-39 yards out, and 11 of 16 from 40-to-49 yards out.

Smith told Hochuli he’d take the 15 yards on the PAT, not the kickoff. That lengthened the PAT from 33 to 48 yards. And Pineiro kicked it wide left.

Pineiro missed a cake field goal in OT too, from 32 yards out (again, wide left), and Atlanta’s Younghoe Koo won it with a 41-yarder with 1:55 left in overtime.

“So many waves of emotion in a game like that,” Smith said. “Lotta crazy things happened, and you’ve got to make a lot of decisions in a short period of time. If you don’t have a resilient team, things could go south in a hurry.”

Lotta crazy things? How about this one: A man taking his helmet off on the field is the difference between a team being in first or fourth place this morning.

Eddy Pineiro was 12 of 12 on normal-distance PATs this year. He’d missed five kicks of his 16 tries in the forties. If D.J. Moore doesn’t take his helmet off, it’s very likely Carolina sits alone in first place today with a 3-5 record, including the tiebreaker-favoring 3-0 in division games. Instead, Pineiro missed, and the Panthers, 2-6, are alone in last place.

That is the craziest thing about the 2022 NFL season.

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

How to watch Miami Dolphins vs LA Chargers: TV, live stream info for Sunday night’s game

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It’s the Miami Dolphins vs LA Chargers this Sunday night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. 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 tonight’s game.

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

Miami Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins (8-4) currently hold one of the AFC’s Wild Card spots after a tough 33-17 loss against the 49ers last Sunday afternoon that ended Miami’s 5-game win streak. Tagovailoa finished 18-of-33 for 295 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and 3 turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble). He did not return for the game’s final play after injuring his ankle on a strip sack late in the 4th quarter but is expected to start this Sunday. Despite last Sunday’s performance, which was Tagovailoa’s worst of the season, the Dolphins QB has exceeded expectations in year 3. In the 10 games he’s played this season, Tagovailoa has already surpassed his career highs in touchdown passes (21) and passing yards (2,859). He also leads the NFL in passer rating (112.0) and yds/attempt (9.02).

RELATED: Tua Tagovailoa feels “as good as I can be after a game”

LA Chargers

Justin Herbert and the LA Chargers (6-6)  fell 27-20 to the Raiders last Thursday night picking up their 3rd loss in the last 4 games. The team, which is seeking its first playoff appearance since 2018, currently sits one game behind the NY Jets and outside of playoff position. Herbert finished 28-of-47 for 335 passing yards–his most in a game since Week 4–and one touchdown. WR Keenan Allen had 6 receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown while RB Austin Ekeler had 5 receptions for 57 receiving yards and picked up 35 yards on the ground. The 6th-year RB leads the Chargers’ offense with 85 receptions this season and is second on the team with 564 receiving yards.

How many times have Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert gone head-to-head?

Third-year QBs Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert went 5th and 6th overall, respectively in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, Sunday night’s matchup will be just the second meeting between two players who have quickly become some of the best young quarterbacks in the league. Tagovailoa and Herbert met in Week 10 of their rookie season when the Dolphins defeated the Chargers 29-21. Tagovailoa threw for 169 yds and 2 touchdowns in the win, while Herbert passed for 187 yds, 2 touchdowns, and an interception in the Chargers loss.

Both quarterbacks are looking to make their first career playoff appearance this season.


How to watch the Miami Dolphins vs LA Chargers:

  • Where: SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California
  • When: Sunday, December 11
  • 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 Miami Dolphins vs LA Chargers 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 tailgating needs for the 2022 Fall season, click here!

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


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!

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!