It’s well-known that a kickoff out of bounds is a penalty, with the ball placed on the 40-yard line. It’s less well-known that the ball is out of bounds if it’s touched by any player who’s out of bounds, even if the ball itself is a couple of yards from the sideline. Ty Montgomery knew it.
The Packers’ returner smartly wheeled out of bounds, then stretched to touch the live ball, baffling the Fox broadcasters but not the officials.
It would have been a penalty on Montgomery had he gone out of bounds then been the first to touch it after coming back into play. But since he never did come back in bounds, he’s good.
Great awareness by Montgomery: he exploited the rules for an extra 37 yards of field position on what seemed like an excellent Lions kickoff. The Packers would go 60 yards in four plays to score, and would hold on for a 34-27 win.
Something about this doesn’t feel right—it feels like a loophole—but that’s the rule, and it’s coached by special teams coaches everywhere, even if the opportunities to utilize it are rare. But coincidentally(?) enough, the last time we saw this, it was the Packers too.