Patriots-Bills game nearly had the first one-point safety in NFL history

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Late in Monday night’s game between the Patriots and the Bills, NFL history was almost made, as the first one-point safety ever was almost scored.

A lot of fans probably don’t even realize that there is such a thing as a one-point safety, because there’s never been on in NFL history. But it does exist, and if it ever does happen in the NFL it will probably happen like this: A team scores a touchdown and is going for two. The offense throws an interception into the end zone, the defensive player takes it out of the end zone, then he gets hit just after he runs out of the end zone, fumbles back into the end zone, and one of his teammates recovers. That would be a safety, but because it comes on a two-point conversion attempt instead of a regular play from scrimmage, it would be a one-point safety.

That nearly happened after a Patriots fourth-quarter touchdown on Monday night: Tom Brady passed into the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt, Bills linebacker Julian Stanford intercepted, then started to run the ball out, was hit and fumbled, and the Bills recovered in the end zone. If Stanford had crossed the goal line with the ball before fumbling back into the end zone, the Bills’ recovery in the end zone would have given the Patriots one point. However, Stanford never brought the ball out of the end zone before fumbling, so that made the play like a touchback, not a safety.

If the Patriots had recovered the fumble in the end zone, it would have been a successful two-point conversion. It looked like the Patriots actually might have jumped on it, but the officials ruled it recovered by the Bills, and ESPN did not show any replay angles that were conclusive.

ESPN’s broadcast didn’t pay much attention to the play, perhaps because the folks at ESPN weren’t aware of the dynamics at play. Former referee Jeff Triplette works on ESPN’s Monday night broadcasts but rarely chimes in and didn’t say anything about the play last night.

One-point safeties have happened in college football, including in a couple of high-profile games, the 2004 Texas-Texas A&M game and the 2013 Fiesta Bowl. Eventually, one will happen in the NFL. And now you’ll know what’s happening.

55 responses to “Patriots-Bills game nearly had the first one-point safety in NFL history

  1. Well done. I like articles about new and/or obscure information like this. Unfortunately, it would probably be blown by the officials during the game, not immediately corrected from upstairs/NY booth review, and then the league office would issue some B.S. statement the next day trying to cover for their poorly trained & poorly informed part time officials. Have we all seen that one before?
    Wow, I just turned that comment into a bummer. Guess I’ll skip the coffee and have a beer for breakfast today.

  2. Thanks MDS.
    Never knew about this rule.

    As to Triplette, he has no communication skill to even be a factor for the viewing audience.
    ESPN either needs to make him part of the broadcast or just scrub the idea.

  3. Former referee Jeff Triplette works on ESPN’s Monday night broadcasts but rarely chimes in and didn’t say anything about the play last night.

    Why would anyone want to listen to the worst official in the history of the NFL.

  4. Strange. I just heard about this last week and saw a video of a college game it happened in. Was wondering if the NFL had a similar rule. Thanks for clearing it up. I was surprised it wasn’t 2 ptd for the Pats. I thought they recovered it. Being a Bills fan, that’s how the seasons going. Even a pick in the EZ turns to garbage. Does anyone know if the pick counts as an interception in the standings?

  5. Jeff Triplette sounds like he’s dumb as a rock but I think it’s because he just doesn’t speak well.

  6. Huh!!! On the new madden game I went for 2 and it was intercepted and the defender fumbled went in the endzone and they recovered the ball and it was ruled a 2 point safety.
    Well I was playing the raiders. So that could have been the reason

  7. I’m kinda glad that the Bills don’t get many Monday night games. The ESPN crew is terrible. They called the wrong player on several occasions, sometimes the calling the player from the opposite team that had the same number. Booger McFarland flips flops more than the president, saying the Bills should run more between the tackles and then when they do saying they should open it up and throw the ball more. The replays were also slow in coming or not shown at all, especially in questionable penalty situations. If I had to score their broadcast, I’d give them a D-. They were terrible.

  8. I just heard about this last week and saw a video of a college game it happened in.
    —–
    In college it’s (a turnover during a 2pt conversion) a dead ball.

  9. Strange. I just heard about this last week and saw a video of a college game it happened in. Was wondering if the NFL had a similar rule. Thanks for clearing it up. I was surprised it wasn’t 2 ptd for the Pats. I thought they recovered it. Being a Bills fan, that’s how the seasons going. Even a pick in the EZ turns to garbage. Does anyone know if the pick counts as an interception in the standings?
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    I dont believe it does. However, the Bills could have returned it for 2 points now after last years rule change

  10. It didn’t appear to be me that the Bills recovered the ball… seemed that the refs blew an early whistle instead, with no one then recovering.

  11. May be a dumb question, but where is the succeeding spot for the ensuing kick? Is it the 35, since it is a free kick after a score….or is it the 20, since it is a free kick after a safety?

  12. canada football has a one point play for kickoffs and punts where if you can drop the ball into the endzone you get a single point. its called a rouge and i think thats beautiful

  13. Could you imagine a play like that occurring in the final seconds of a Super Bowl? It would be remembered forever.

  14. I had to watch the game in Spanish. I’m not kidding. It was unwatchable in English. Remember the days when everyone “hated” Howard Cosell? Oh, what we’d do to have those days back again.

  15. “ESPN’s broadcast didn’t pay much attention to the play, perhaps because the folks at ESPN weren’t aware of the dynamics at play.”

    Because they were too busy trying to think of 90’s bands to shoehorn into next week’s halftime show?

  16. Next Monday I’m going to turn down the sound and seek out a radio broadcast for audio.
    Booger McCarland is such a marble mouthed, idiotic, ranting know-nothing that I just can’t stand it anymore.

  17. I just heard about this last week and saw a video of a college game it happened in.
    —–
    In college it’s (a turnover during a 2pt conversion) a dead ball.

    ——-
    It has always been a live ball in college; used to be a dead ball in the NFL but they adopted the NCAA rule a few years ago. In a tight game in college a turnover and run back on a 2 pt attempt can be one of the most exciting plays in the game.

  18. “Unfortunately, it would probably be blown by the officials during the game, not immediately corrected from upstairs/NY booth review”
    _____________

    That’s EXACTLY how it would play out. Almost no chance New York catches that if the ref says “2 points.” The booth review is almost always centered on possession questions and look at how many of those this play would have for them to look at: Was it really an interception? Did he actually fumble or was he potentially down by contact? Who actually recovered the fumble? Was the recovery clearly in the end zone or was it maybe out of bounds or in the field of play? They’d go through a lengthy review and never even THINK to question the scoring of it.

  19. For all those claiming that the Pats own the refs, they have consistently been screwed over by them. 2 weeks in a row they have been penalized on kickoffs, last week was a delay of game. Um hello, the kicker is not allowed to kick until cleared by the refs, they let the playclock expire before clearance. Last night was some stupid too many men between the numbers and hashmarks. The wind was cranking and a player had to hold the ball. How would that be an advantage for the Pats? Unreal.

  20. With 6 points scored, the Bills also remain a threat to break the all time record for fewest points scored in a 16 game season, which I believe is currently held by the 1992 Seahawks (140). Although they are slightly head of the pace with 87 so far, a full 27 of that came in one game when they blew out the worthless Vikings. Absent that hilarious anomaly, the Bills are averaging under 10 points a game and could easily end up around 140 when they finally commit to meaningful tanking.

  21. This ESPN grouping is possibly the worst collection of a prime time production ever. They do have a rules guy, some former official, but never even explained what happened.

  22. pauldeba says:
    October 30, 2018 at 9:08 am

    I had to watch the game in Spanish. I’m not kidding. It was unwatchable in English. Remember the days when everyone “hated” Howard Cosell? Oh, what we’d do to have those days back again.

    *******************

    That’s a great idea. I will try to remember it for the next time we watch MNF. Unfortunately, that won’t do anything to fix MNF’s atrocious camera work. They’re so into tight closeups on players’ faces, showing the crowd, and stupid graphics like the video game-ish clip of Tom Brady doing a table jump à la Bill Mafia, that they don’t show you the formations. If you’re lucky, they will give you a shot when the ball is snapped, but most fans want to have a few seconds to look at both sides and see where everybody is lined up. And I lost track of how many times they didn’t show the play until after the snap.

    ___________________________________________________

    Colonel Quibble says:
    October 30, 2018 at 9:19 am

    “ESPN’s broadcast didn’t pay much attention to the play, perhaps because the folks at ESPN weren’t aware of the dynamics at play.”

    Because they were too busy trying to think of 90’s bands to shoehorn into next week’s halftime show?

    *******************

    No kidding. We were yelling at the TV, wanting to see replays, because it sure looked like the Patriots recovered. It was infuriating that not a single one of the commentators so much as remarked on it, even though this was an interesting game situation no matter who recovered.

    This broadcast team blows. Witten might be OK some day, but I think OK is about his limit; he’s just too boring. McFarland toned it down a little this week, but he still contradicts himself and never gives you anything like analysis. ESPN really needs to make a change. There is zero dynamism or insight with these guys.

  23. ESPN – If your goal or point is to have viewers put telecast on mute, you are succeeding. I know your commentators feel the need to fill the dead space with verbiage, but unless they have something meaningful to say, zip it. And the dude in high chair on sidelines…why?

  24. I remember a long-lost time when Monday Night Football was the most anticipated game of the week………not the least.

  25. tombradyisgod says:
    October 30, 2018 at 7:57 am
    PATS recovered in the endzone
    Scoring play, is it reviewed ?
    Andrews recovered it for the PATS
    345 Park Ave

    The Pats struggled to beat the Bills. And Tom Brady’s QBR was less than Blake Bortles. The time for honoring yourself is at an end.

  26. Probably an even lesser-known rule that would be even more rare: With the relatively new PAT rules, it’s also possible for a team to have exactly 1 point in a game. Let’s say a team goes for 2 after scoring a TD. They commit a turnover and it goes the other way, but the defense fumbles the ball on the offense’s 1 yard line. The offense recovers the ball outside of their own end zone and get tackled in their own end zone, resulting in a one-point safety for the defense. Of course this assumes that it’s the defensive team’s first score of the game.

  27. The ESPN Monday crew is awful. Never mentioned that Hightower wasn’t playing until the third Q. Talking about irrelevant crap while replay review are being announced. And for god sakes get Booger of the air he is awful.

  28. “ESPN’s broadcast didn’t pay much attention to the play, perhaps because the folks at ESPN weren’t aware of the dynamics at play.”

    ——————
    That was a very polite and eloquent way to say they are incompetent. Well written.

  29. 32. Giants (1-7; No. 31): Usually, that embarrassing one-year-too-many from a fallen star happens with a different team.
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    LMAO Eli is on pace for almost 5000 yards….if that “stud” o-line gettleman put together and spent all that money on, could keep him standing for more than 1.5 sec or give the receivers time to run a route that isn’t a slant…try watching the actual games

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