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Monday, March 26, 2012
NFC West can shrug off OT proposal

By Mike Sando

The Arizona Cardinals lived dangerously in 2011, improbably posting a 4-0 record in overtime games.

Turns out the margins for error in those games wasn't all that small, at least by overtime standards.

Postseason rules giving both teams at least one overtime possession in the absence of a touchdown would not have affected outcomes for those games or any other involving an NFC West team last season.

NFL owners, who rarely need overtime to wrap up their annual meetings, are expected to adopt those overtime rules for the regular season beginning in 2012. They'll vote on the measure this week.

A quick look at how the postseason rules would have (or did) apply to NFC West overtime games last season:

A quick look back at them:

Week 2

Score: Cowboys 27, 49ers 24

Teams possessing ball in OT: both

Rule impact: none.

Note: The Cowboys kicked the winning field goal on first-and-goal from the 1 following a 77-yard pass completion. The 49ers possessed the ball first in OT and punted on fourth-and-11.

Week 9

Score: Cardinals 19, Rams 13

Teams possessing ball in OT: both

Rule impact: none

Note: The Rams punted after taking possession to open overtime. Patrick Peterson returned that punt 99 yards for the winning touchdown.

Week 13

Score: Cardinals 19, Cowboys 13

Teams possessing ball in OT: One

Rule impact: none

Note: LaRod Stephens-Howling's 52-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown punctuated the Cardinals' victory. The new rules would not have allowed a possession for Dallas because Arizona scored a touchdown.

Week 15

Score: Cardinals 20, Browns 17

Teams possessing ball in OT: both

Rule impact: none

Note: The Browns possessed the ball first in OT. The Cardinals took over and drove 36 yards to the winning 22-yard field goal.

Week 17

Score: Cardinals 23, Seahawks 20

Teams possessing ball in OT: both

Rule impact: none

Note: The Seahawks possessed the ball first in OT. Jay Feely's winning 28-yard field goal ended a 13-play, 71-yard drive.

Week 20

Score: Giants 20, 49ers 17

Teams possessing ball in OT: both

Rule impact: none

Note: The 49ers' three-and-out possession to begin OT gave them a chance. Kyle Williams' fateful fumble derailed what would have been a second chance. The Giants possessed the ball three times before scoring the winning field goal.