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NFL Playoffs 2024: How The Hell Are The Lions In The Final Four??? Inconceivable!


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14 minutes ago, Corvinus85 said:

I just checked the NFL rules about playoff OT and say nothing about sudden death. Each team still gets a possession, and they keep playing until someone scores more points during their possession.

I don't think that's correct.  Here's Shanahan after the game explaining his decision to take the ball:

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"It's just something we talked about," Shanahan said in his postgame news conference. "None of us have a ton of experience with [the new overtime rules]. But we went through all the analytics and talked to those guys. We just thought it would be better. We wanted the ball third. If both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones who had the chance to go win. So got that field goal, so knew we had to hold them to at least a field goal and if we did, we thought it was in our hands after that."

It can be argued that taking the ball first provides exactly the opportunity Shanahan detailed: the first chance to win in the event that both teams came away from their initial possession with the same number of points, setting up sudden death.

I looked at the NFL rules page and it is in there, it's just spread over several points, which makes it more confusing.  They mention sudden death in the regular season rules, and in the postseason rules they have "Each team will have an opportunity to possess the ball in overtime", which means that each team gets one shot, but not that you go back and forth forever.  If the score is still tied after each team had a possession, then it is sudden death.  

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2 hours ago, Maithanet said:

It was just that SF had a real opportunity to grind down the KC defense and make that great secondary not terribly relevant.  They didn't take it. 

It's almost like someone didn't learn from the last time he did that and blew the SB.

1 hour ago, Corvinus85 said:

I just checked the NFL rules about playoff OT and say nothing about sudden death. Each team still gets a possession, and they keep playing until someone scores more points during their possession.

I just an article notification saying that SF players admitted they didn't know the OT rules. Idk if you should take the ball first or not, but you have to know the basics. 

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13 hours ago, DMC said:

So yeah, this one's on Shanahan.  He somehow managed to let Mahomes have the ball in his hands with the game on the line not once but twice.  Sometimes you can't avoid that, but he could have.  Again, twice.

Purdy wasn't great, but he definitely did what he could and protected the ball.  Can only think of one interceptable pass and that was off a deflection.  As opposed to, ya know, Mahomes' actual interception.  The Chiefs' "#1 receiver" also didn't have much impact on the game.  It was just Mahomes.  Which is why you go for it at 4th and 4 on the KC 9.  Worst case scenario, the Chiefs are on the 9 and the D is amped up.

Oh well.  There's always next year.  Maybe the Niners can get to the Super Bowl again and Shanahan can become the new Marv Levy.

13 hours ago, Rhom said:

Shanahan went away from the running game too much in the third quarter and took him until OT to remember he had the offensive player of the year back there.

Yep, that analysis I did was (mostly) inaccurate. I did mention that if the Chiefs somehow convince the 49ers to not run the ball as much as they could that'd be a factor - and it was. I would imagine that the chiefs played a lot of 8 in the box looks. 

Will also be interested to see the fumble luck and how it worked out. I suspect it'll be largely even, but that was a much bigger factor than prior games for either team would have indicated. Special teams ended up being somewhat big of a deal which is something that DVOA folks called out as an advantage, though probably not in the way they were thinking.

Mostly I think the real simple analysis ended up being more accurate - the team with the better coach, defense and quarterback won, and those things mattered in small enough places to make the difference. 

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Oof, fumble luck was brutal for the 49ers - I didn't realize it was 6 of 7 for KC. 

https://www.ftnfantasy.com/articles/FTN/115738/super-bowl-lviii-dvoa-and-quick-reads

The Samuel production there is also fascinating - did the Chiefs specifically just cover the shit out of him and double him everywhere? 

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For all the ways in which the NFL has tried to juice up scoring in the recent past, it is interesting to see how defensive excellence almost always results in great Superb Owls.  Think of the most exciting ones, and the most memorable are so because of tremendous defensive performances.

This game was terrific because of the outstanding defenses on both teams that forced the offenses to the very limits of their performances.  Similarly, consider some other classic SBs:

SB X - Steel Curtain vs The Doomsday Defense

SB XIII - Steel Curtain vs The Doomsday Defense redux

SB XXV - Bruce Smith vs LT

SB XLII - Spagnolo again with a masterclass to tip the balance

SB XXIII - Dick LeBeau almost stops Montana

SB XXXII - Multiple players KO'd during the game

SB XLVII - The Blackout Bowl is won on the strength of defense (and faulty infrastructure)

SB IX and XLVIII - Start the game with a safety, twice!

SB XLIII - James Harrison pick-6

For all of the work that the NFL puts into tilting the advantage in the direction of the offense, truly memorable, good games depend upon strongly-performing defenses.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Maithanet said:

I looked at the NFL rules page and it is in there, it's just spread over several points, which makes it more confusing.  They mention sudden death in the regular season rules, and in the postseason rules they have "Each team will have an opportunity to possess the ball in overtime", which means that each team gets one shot, but not that you go back and forth forever.  If the score is still tied after each team had a possession, then it is sudden death.  

Actually that is how I interpret it. https://operations.nfl.com/the-rules/nfl-overtime-rules/

Quote

OVERTIME RULES FOR NFL POSTSEASON GAMES

Unlike regular season games, postseason games cannot end in a tie, so the overtime rules change slightly for the playoffs.

  • 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.

The ref last night literally said that they were starting a new game. If SF scores a field goal, and KC does the same, I don't think that the next time SF gets the ball and they score that KC then doesn't get to then get another possession. Nothing in this verbiage suggests that's the case. It seems to me it's play until you drop or score more points on your possession than the other team. Considering the quality of field goal kickers we got to see last night, the chance of no one scoring a single point in 4 more quarters are extremely remote, so that last sentence suggests that each team get to have the ball after the other scores.

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I'm pretty sure I'm right about this.  They said it explicitly during the broadcast, so if I'm wrong it would mean that Nantz/Romo, Andy Schefter (above) and CBS Sports (in my previous post) are all wrong in how this rule is interpreted.  Plus, Schefter's tweet has the NFL logo, which makes me think that is produced by the NFL. 

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If each team scores in OT (and its still tied) it thereafter becomes a sudden death contest per SB rules.

I feel like the Lions would've been undefeated were they to have KC's secondary.

 

Edited by DireWolfSpirit
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So some background on the overtime rules change for the playoffs.  First, Maith is correct.  The NFL changed the overtime rules as a reaction to that Bills-Chiefs playoff game in January of 2022 where Mahomes and Allen were just trading touchdowns.  Because the Chiefs won the coin toss, Mahomes was able to score a touchdown without the Bills getting a chance to respond.

Those are still the rules in the regular season.  But because of that game, the NFL changed if for the playoffs to at least allow both teams the opportunity to have the ball even if the first team scores a touchdown.  That's the only difference from the previous rules.  After each team has a possession, it then goes to sudden death.

Saw a Ringer article this morning questioning Shanahan's decision due to these new rules.  That's..a waste of digital ink.  The problem with Shanahan's decision was settling for a field goal which allowed Mahomes the opportunity to score a touchdown to win the game.  That would have been the case under the old rules as well. 

It really wasn't a question of analytics, or at least statistical analytics.  If only for the obvious reason that statistical analytics don't have enough data on a rule that's only been enacted for two years.  It's simply recognizing you do not want to give Mahomes that opportunity.

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I've seen some articles arguing maybe the Niners should have kicked and gone second in overtime.  That strikes me as very foolish thinking.  If you score a touchdown on the opening drive you are still in an awesome spot to win.  The comparative advantage of going second is just that you know what you need to get, you won't punt on forth down, etc.  That is an advantage, but not nearly enough to want to go second.

If you imagine a scenario where the Niners score a TD on the first drive, then KC needs to drive down and score a TD and then decide if they want to go for 2 or risk kicking it back to SF needing only a fg.  I imagine Reid goes for 2, I know I would.  But regardless, that isn't a spot you want to be in, having to rely on both driving down the field AND scoring a 2 pointer. 

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5 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

I've seen some articles arguing maybe the Niners should have kicked and gone second in overtime.  That strikes me as very foolish thinking.  If you score a touchdown on the opening drive you are still in an awesome spot to win.  The comparative advantage of going second is just that you know what you need to get, you won't punt on forth down, etc.  That is an advantage, but not nearly enough to want to go second.

If you imagine a scenario where the Niners score a TD on the first drive, then KC needs to drive down and score a TD and then decide if they want to go for 2 or risk kicking it back to SF needing only a fg.  I imagine Reid goes for 2, I know I would.  But regardless, that isn't a spot you want to be in, having to rely on both driving down the field AND scoring a 2 pointer. 

Yeah, the college system where it always goes back and forth is a no brainer to play defense first.

But this gets much more complicated.  Shanahan truly believes that his offense will score a TD every time they have the ball.  Given that philosophy, his decision to take the ball first makes more sense.  And it almost worked.  They had the Chiefs almost at a 4 and out.  Then had them at 3rd and Long.  

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5 minutes ago, Rhom said:

Yeah, the college system where it always goes back and forth is a no brainer to play defense first.

But this gets much more complicated.  Shanahan truly believes that his offense will score a TD every time they have the ball.  Given that philosophy, his decision to take the ball first makes more sense.  And it almost worked.  They had the Chiefs almost at a 4 and out.  Then had them at 3rd and Long.  

Just as it's a no brainer that you want to go second in college, I really don't see any way you'd choose to kick here.  Going second has its advantages, but going first is still clearly the better option. 

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20 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

Just as it's a no brainer that you want to go second in college, I really don't see any way you'd choose to kick here.  Going second has its advantages, but going first is still clearly the better option. 

Why? 

If you know that you're going to get the ball at least once (unless you score a safety, in which case yay) why would you want to go first? I don't see it as being fundamentally clear, and it depends a lot on a whole lot of factors. The reason going second in college makes sense is because not only do you know what you need to do in order to win or survive, you also get the ball in exactly the same position either way. That's not at all the case in this rule; if you go first and they force a 3 and out there's a very good chance that they'll get the ball and have better field position than you did. There's all sorts of other potential factors in there - injury status, how well your kicker can do, how well your punter can do, how fast you regularly score...I don't think it's just an obvious 'do it this way'. 

I thought Shanahan had a perfectly reasonable statement for wanting to go first - that he wanted the first sudden death possession. The problem with that is that you need to play as if you will get that, and kicking a field goal is not a great choice in that situation playing against that team. I don't think that going second where you give KC a shot to score first in sudden death would be a good choice either, mind you. 

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The interesting thing is reportedly the Chiefs had planned for this and would have opted to go second anyway.  I understand their rationale - even if the other team scores a touchdown they're just going to kick an extra point, so you have the chance to win by scoring a touchdown and going for two.  But that only makes sense because the Chiefs have a veritable cheat code in Patrick Mahomes.  For virtually every other team - including the Niners - it makes more sense to me to go first.

Kal makes a good point that there can be mitigating factors, but I don't really see any for Shanahan's particular decision last night.

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37 minutes ago, DMC said:

The interesting thing is reportedly the Chiefs had planned for this and would have opted to go second anyway.  I understand their rationale - even if the other team scores a touchdown they're just going to kick an extra point, so you have the chance to win by scoring a touchdown and going for two.  But that only makes sense because the Chiefs have a veritable cheat code in Patrick Mahomes.  For virtually every other team - including the Niners - it makes more sense to me to go first.

Kal makes a good point that there can be mitigating factors, but I don't really see any for Shanahan's particular decision last night.

Like I said, I don't think going first is the problem. I think that if you're playing against the Chiefs and you really want to ensure that you get the ball again you're going to have to go for a TD and call plays as if 4th down isn't going to be a punt/kick down. 

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4 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

I think that if you're playing against the Chiefs and you really want to ensure that you get the ball again you're going to have to go for a TD and call plays as if 4th down isn't going to be a punt/kick down. 

Yes I of course agree with this.  I said it last night and the first post above this afternoon.

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I watched this SB with side eye. Don't like Mahommie getting goat talk after his 1st SB, even though since then he has started earning it. As a Cowboys fan I can't root for SF, ever. 

I bet on KC and if Kelce catches a TD I win several hundred since I hit the rest of it, KC to win, Kelce and McCaffery tds, Mahommes over 1.5 td, Kelce over 70 yards and KC under 34 points.  Damn Kelce.  I don't ever bet more than $10 so it's always really just for fun. Earlier in the year I had a 7 legger that missed by a TD also and that was a free $25 bet that would've been $2000+

On to the draft.

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11 minutes ago, dbunting said:

As a Cowboys fan I can't root for SF, ever. 

I actually did root for the Cowboys in their Week 14 game against the Eagles just because Dallas winning made it easier for the Niners to secure the #1 seed.  (Of course, I didn't know at the time that the Eagles were just gonna completely suck the rest of the way.)

It felt very weird and I showered profusely afterwards, but I still don't like to talk about it.

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42 minutes ago, DMC said:

I actually did root for the Cowboys in their Week 14 game against the Eagles just because Dallas winning made it easier for the Niners to secure the #1 seed.  (Of course, I didn't know at the time that the Eagles were just gonna completely suck the rest of the way.)

It felt very weird and I showered profusely afterwards, but I still don't like to talk about it.

I'm the same when eggles play SF, or a top SEC team plays the buckeyes. 

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