The Seahawks completed a double punt in their “Thursday Night Football” game against the Rams.The sequence left viewers confused and wondering how this could have been a legal NFL play.
The play occurred late in the third quarter. The Rams’ blocked a Michael Dickson punt, but Dickson quickly got hold of the ball, ran and kicked again. The second punt went for 68 yards.
The play stunned the Fox broadcast commentators along with the viewers. For many of them, this was the first time they’d seen a double punt. Mike Pereira, the rules analyst for the broadcast, commented that the play was illegal, but he was unaware of the rule.
According to NFL Rule 9, a second punt is legal so long as the ball does not cross the line of scrimmage. Had the ball crossed the line and Dickson punted again, the second kick would have resulted in a 10-yard penalty.
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“A second kick from behind the line of scrimmage is legal provided the ball has not crossed the line,” the rule reads.
The rule also mentions that the player kicking the ball must be behind the line of scrimmage as well: “The penalty for a punt, drop kick, or placekick from beyond the line is to be enforced from the spot where the ball is punted or kicked when the player’s entire body and the ball are beyond the line of scrimmage. This includes either when the player is airborne or touching the ground.”
Since Dickson kicked from behind the line of scrimmage, the play was deemed legal.
NFL’s officiating Twitter account confirmed the play’s legality: “In #LARvsSEA, the punt was blocked and recovered by the kicking team. The punter kicks the ball again from behind the line of scrimmage. This is a legal kick and the result of the play was the ball was ruled down at the 11 yard line.”
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