Dear Kid,

Yesterday was Sunday, and you know what that means: Bengals football!

And not just Bengals football—Bengals against the Steelers.

Welcome to the Jungle! Who Dey! DearKidLoveMom.comFirst quarter. No score.

But there was discussion about the Fourth Down Fumble Rule. And since I was dealing with my closet and chatting with my favorite bunny at the time, I missed most of the conversation. I didn’t know what the fourth down fumble rule was, so I looked it up. And got distracted with a whole bunch of other things.

Being That Kind of a Mom, I am here to share all this Important Information with you.

First, we must understand the difference between a fumble and a muff. A muff is a tube of fabric (generally fur) used mostly by women and girls to keep their hands warm. Kind of like a football handwarmer but classier and often white. Another definition is the tuft of feathers on the sides of the head of some fowl. (There are other non-sport definitions, but I’m not going there.)

In football a muff is “the touching of a loose ball by a player in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain possession.”

A fumble is “the loss of player possession of the ball.”

So: try to get it and miss, you’ve muffed; have it and lose it, you’ve fumbled.

In general, if a ball is fumbled there aren’t any restrictions on who can grab it.

HOWEVER, on fourth down, things change. If an offensive player fumbles the ball on fourth down, ONLY the fumbling player is allowed to recover the ball. (Same thing inside the two-minute warning.) If another offensive player recovers the ball, the ball is dead at the spot of the fumble (unless the recovery is behind the spot of the fumble in which case the ball is dead at the spot of recovery). Defenders are under no such restrictions. Which means if you’re on offense, you recover the ball to prevent the defense from getting it, not because you think you can improve your team’s possession.

Bottom line: Don’t fumble the ball.

Now you know.

Second quarter. People decide to score.

Steelers score (whatev). Bengals respond with a TD. Interception that isn’t because of a penalty (which interestingly is the first penalty of the game). And Bengals score! Woot! With 30 seconds left, Steelers are on the four yard line, 1st and goal. And Roethlisberger throws 3 (count them three) passes that aren’t caught. Pittsburg settles for a field goal from the 4 yard line.

Nobody talked about chucking, but I found it while looking for the aforementioned fumble rule, and I didn’t know what it meant.

Chucking: Warding off an opponent who is in front of a defender by contacting him with a quick extension of arm or arms, followed by the return of arm(s) to a flexed position, thereby breaking the original contact. Kind of like punching, except not.

And we go to halftime leading 14-10.

Halftime: No idea what happened at halftime, because I went to eat an orange. Fact: no one eats part of your orange if you eat the orange when no one else is home.

Third Quarter: Wait, What?

We take an unnecessary time out (but you can’t have everything). A bunch of nothing happens. Eventually, the Steelers score and it’s 14-17. Then a bunch more nothing happens. Then—just as time expires—Andy throws the ball about a thousand yards to AJ Green—TD!.

Interesting fact of the quarter: When a team scores as time expires in the quarter, they take the PAT in that same quarter.

Which we do. 21-17. Who Dey!

Fourth Quarter. Sigh

Turns out the Steelers don’t like being scored upon, and they turn up the heat at the beginning of the quarter with a great catch, but have to settle for three. 21-20.

I find things from the Paleolithic era in my closet as the Bengals take over. Bengals find a mistake and Andy fumbles the ball during the handoff. Which is unfortunate because the Steelers find the endzone. 21-28 (yeah, they went for two). But wait! There’s a flag. And some words. And…unnecessary roughness against us. How does that help?

I went into my closet for a nanosecond, and when I came back the score was 21-35 with 8:21 left in the game. This is not how things were supposed to go.

Oh, jeez. Dalton gets walloped and Campbell, the backup QB, comes out for the 3rd and 10. We don’t make it, but since we fouled we get to try again. Dalton is back. So glad he’s not hurt. We don’t make it so we punt—26 yards. Which in dog years means about 2 inches.

I go back into the closet, hoping my absence will mean football magic.

Not so much. While I now understand the 4th down fumble rule, I don’t have an explanation  the 4th Quarter Corollary in which the Bengals play three great quarters and forget to show up for the last 15 minutes. Sigh.

The game ends 21-42 which has some nice feng shui, but no other virtues I can discern.

The closet and I continue.

Keep the momentum.

Love, Mom