In the Jets vs. Chargers NFL game on 2020-11-22, LA were about to punt from their 28 yard line with 8 seconds left. However, the punter turned and ran into his own end zone, giving NY two points. What was that strategy for?

2 Answers 2


Well, in that game the strategy was to take time off of the clock so that The Jets would have only a small amount of time to play in their case 1 play instead of 2 or 3 downs and possible Hail Mary and win the game. Giving NY only 2 points did no real damage and it ran off time off the clock. If NY hadn't forced the safety LA would have stayed in bounds and let the time expire and game would have ended then.

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    Generally, taking an intentional safety means you are more worried about a blocked or shanked punt than the two points. So if you're up by 6 or 5 late in the game, your punter is standing in the endzone and your punt team is terrible, you might give up the safety, do the free kick and give your defense a chance to prevent a touchdown.
    – pboss3010
    Nov 23, 2020 at 19:45

In addition to the reason of taking time off the clock, the "safety punt" approach is beneficial when the score difference is right (6 to 8 points - so a field goal is not going to tie the game after a safety). A punt from the 8 yard line, even when not blocked, is already expected to be worth something close to a safety - look at the play by play, the EPB (expected points before) was -1.5 for that play.

The safety obviously gave 2 points, which is slightly more, but it's like insurance - you give up 0.5 points that don't affect the actual outcome, and you avoid having to punt from the end zone and possibly giving up a touchdown that could tie the game.

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