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    GameChangers Week 10 (11/10/14)

    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.

    Jets vs. Steelers

    The New York Jets avoided setting a franchise record for consecutive losses by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-13 Sunday afternoon. Michael Vick threw two touchdowns and the Jets forced four turnovers in the win.

    In addition to the turnovers, Gang Green was aided in the victory when Pittsburgh decided to stop being aggressive. Facing a 4th and 2 from the New York 5-yard line at the start of the fourth, the Steelers decided to attempt a field goal trailing 20-3.

    At that point in the contest Pittsburgh had just a two percent chance of winning. A field goal cuts the lead to 20-6; the Steelers' expected win probability would actually decrease when the Jets got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff.

    Ergo, the Steelers were not trying to win the game.

    Had the Steelers gone for it, a first down increases Pittsburgh's odds of winning to 5 percent, a touchdown on that drive gives the Steel Curtain a 10 percent chance of winning.

    Now you say to yourself, that doesn't take into consideration the possibility of turning the ball over on downs. True, failing to pick up a fourth down attempt is usually detrimental to a team's chances of winning. However, at that point in the game failing to convert does not dramatically impact the outcome of the matchup.

    In fact, the Steelers missed the chip shot field goal and their odds of winning decreased from two percent to one percent.

    The irony is that Pittsburgh's Head Coach Mike Tomlin went for it on fourth down later in the game when the team was facing a 4th and 21.

    For additional GameChanging notes from this game click here.

    49ers vs. Saints

    San Francisco ended New Orleans' eleven game winning streak in the Superdome defeating the Saints 27-24 in overtime. The Niners overcame long odds on the team's final possession in regulation and overtime to win the game.

    Colin Kaepernick completed a 51-yard pass on 4th and 10 to keep the game tying drive alive in the final minutes of regulation. Before that play San Francisco had just a five percent chance of winning.

    In the extra session, Ahmad Brooks sacked and stripped Drew Brees setting up Phil Dawson's game winning 35-yard field goal. Two plays earlier, the Saints had a fresh set of downs and the 49ers were 43 percent likely to win. The turnover increased San Francisco's odds of winning to 95 percent.

    The Niners rode the expected win probability roller coaster in their win over the Saints. San Francisco saw its expected win probability swing from over 80 percent when the team was leading 24-10 in the second half to as low as five percent needing to convert a fourth down at the end of regulation.

    For additional GameChanging notes from this game click here.

    Chiefs vs. Bills

    Buffalo let one get away as the Bills squandered multiple scoring opportunities and blew a double-digit lead in the fourth. Leading 13-3, the Bills were as much as 97 percent likely to win.

    Kansas City scored two touchdowns in four minutes in the fourth to rally for a 17-13 victory. The Chiefs expected win probability increased from three percent before the first touchdown to 77 percent after last year's Wild Card team took the lead.

    For additional GameChanging notes from this game click here.

    Cardinals vs. Rams

    Arizona extended its NFL best record to 8-1 with a 31-14 victory over St. Louis. Don't let the score fool you, this game was competitive.

    After missing a field goal with 11:21 left in the fourth, having Carson Palmer leave the game with an injury and trailing 14-10, Arizona had just a 20 percent chance of winning. Three touchdowns in less than four minutes, including two defensive scores for the Cardinals, increased Arizona's expected win probability to 99 percent.

    For additional GameChanging notes from this game click here.

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