Sample Essay

The offense loses possession of the ball to the defense in the following scenarios: (American Football)

  • Turnover on Downs: Offense fails to move the ball 10 yards using four downs. In other words, the offense fails to get a first down.
  • Kickoff: Once the offense scores a touchdown or field goal, it kicks the ball to the other team.
    • Positions:
      • Kicker – Handles the kickoffs and field goal attempts.
      • Kick Returner – Tries to catch the ball after a kickoff and advance it as far as possible
    • Onside Kick: A play on a kickoff in which the ball is kicked a shorter distance than usual in order for the team that kicked it to regain possession of the ball.
  • Punt: Punts are kicks in which a player drops a ball and kicks it before it hits the ground. These are usually made on fourth down if the team does not want the other team to have the ball at its current position.
    • Fake Punts: A fake punt is made when the punting team lines up in punt formation and begins the process as a normal punt but instead of kicking the ball, either runs with the ball, or snapped to another running back or pass to a pre-designated receiver. (NationMaster Encyclopedia: Punt (Football)). “Usually, teams will attempt a fake punt only in the rarest of situations: to keep a drive alive (particularly if a team is behind by one or more touchdowns and the game has very little time left), or to exploit a weakness in an opposing team’s defense” (NationMaster Encyclopedia: Punt (Football))
  • Interception: A defense player catches the ball thrown in a forward pass. This player can then run with the ball until he is tackled, forced out of bounds or scores
  • Fumble: An offensive player drops the player and the defense player picks it up. (Note that both lost fumbles and interceptions are known as turnovers)

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