During the Thanksgiving matchup between the Packers and Lions, a seldom-seen NFL rule, the fair catch free kick, could have come into play just before halftime, presenting the Packers with a unique opportunity.

As Reported by The Picks, the fair catch free kick rule allows any team to attempt a field goal after a fair catch, providing the kicker with a running start and preventing the opposing team from attempting to block the kick. With just five seconds remaining in the first half, the Packers opted for a fair catch on a Lions punt at their 44-yard line, setting the stage for a potential strategic move.

Had they chosen to take advantage of this obscure rule, the Packers could have sent their kicker onto the field for a placekick, with the Lions obligated to line up at least 10 yards away, unable to block the kick. This free kick opportunity allows the kicker to employ any running start, facilitating a lower trajectory without the fear of a block. While it would have been a challenging 66-yard field goal attempt, it would have been comparatively easier than a standard 66-yard field goal.

Instead, the Packers ran a single offensive play, gaining 11 yards, before attempting a 63-yard field goal with kicker Anders Carlson. The attempt fell a few feet short, raising questions about the coaching decision. The distinct advantage provided by the fair catch free kick could have potentially cost the Packers three points, highlighting a missed opportunity and the importance of considering the NFL’s more unconventional rules in crucial situations.



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