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    GameChangers (01/19/15)

    By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
    To highlight the Live ScoreCaster, we will take our in-game technology, Live ScoreCaster, to the next level to review the game-changing plays from the NFL and what the game would have looked like if the plays had turned out differently.

    Click the header for each game to view the Game Breakdown for each matchup.

    Seahawks vs. Packers

    Seattle is returning to the Super Bowl. The Seahawks completed the biggest comeback in conference championship history beating Green Bay 28-22 in overtime. Seattle overcame a 16 point deficit to become the first defending champion since New England to make the Super Bowl in ten years.

    A Super Bowl appearance was improbable for the Seahawks late in the fourth. Green Bay led 19-7 with three minutes to play and the Packers were 99 percent likely to win. Seattle scored 15 points in 44 seconds, aided by a successful onside kick and two-point conversion. The Seahawks then won the game with a 35-yard touchdown on the first series in extra time.

    The Packers could have won if…

    Aaron Rodgers could be heading to his second Super Bowl if Mike McCarthy were more aggressive early in the game. Twice the Packers kicked field goals on fourth-and-one from the Seahawks one-yard line in the first quarter. Leading 6-0 Green Bay was 54 percent likely to win.

    Had the Packers went for it on fourth down and scored touchdowns on both occasions instead of kicking field goals, Green Bay's expected win probability increases from 54 percent to 75 percent leading 14-0.

    Of course the biggest non-scoring play that impacted Green Bay's win probability was the successful onside kick executed by Seattle with two minutes to play. With the Seahawks trailing 19-14, the onside kick improved the team's odds of rallying from 11 percent to 24 percent.

    Had Brandon Bostick held onto the onside kick, Green Bay becomes 99 percent likely to win.

    Additional Game Notes

    The Seahawks became just the second team in the Super Bowl era to win a postseason game with four interceptions. Russell Wilson's fourth pick made Green Bay 99 percent likely to win with five minutes remaining.

    For more GameChanging notes from this game click here.

    Patriots vs. Colts

    New England dominated Indianapolis in the AFC Championship game. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are heading to their sixth Super Bowl after a 45-7 victory, the second most lopsided AFC Championship game ever.

    The Patriots scored touchdowns on the team's first four second-half possessions. New England spent more time being projected as 99 percent likely to win than Indianapolis did keeping it competitive (at least a 25 percent chance of winning).

    The Colts could have won if…

    There is no one play or series that could have changed this game. New England controlled every phase of the championship match. The Patriots converted twelve of eighteen third downs, forced three turnovers and nearly doubled up the Colts in total yards.

    New England's third down efficiency repeatedly extended drives. On the Patriots final series of the first half the AFC Champions had successful third and fourth down attempts that extend the team's lead to 17-7 at the end of the second quarter.

    Had the Colts forced the Patriots into a three-and-out, in a one possession game in the first half, Indianapolis' expected win probability becomes 25 percent. Instead, at the half Indy was 16 percent likely to win.

    Additional Game Notes

    New England owns Andrew Luck. The Patriots have the won all four games by at least three touchdowns. In the AFC title game Indianapolis was never greater than 40 percent likely to win.

    For more GameChanging notes from this game click here.

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