NFL GameChangers: Week 3 Edition (09/24/17)

By Ryan Fowler
In this edition of GameChangers, we will utilize our Live ScoreCaster technology to review the game-changing plays from Week 3 of the 2017 NFL season.

Eli Apple Pass Interference Late 4th QTR

The Situation:

With the NY Giants up 21-14, a little more than six minutes left in the game and the ball at midfield, Carson Wentz chucked it deep to Torrey Smith. Giants cornerback Eli Apple broke up the pass, but was flagged for pass interference/face guarding to gift the Eagles a 1st and 10 inside the red zone.

The Take:

This game had some drastic win expectancy swings as is typically the case when 37 points are scored in the fourth quarter.

Leading 14-0 with possession to start the fourth quarter, the Eagles had a 99 percent win expectancy.

The Giants scored twice in less than two minutes to cut Philly's win expectancy to 60.4 percent. Eli Manning's second touchdown pass to Odell Beckham gave the Giants the lead, 21-14, with seven minutes left. New York flipped the win expectancy from Eagles' 99 percent to Giants' 86 percent in eight minutes.

The G-Men's win expectancy was better than 81 percent when Apple got flagged for PI with six minutes to go. On the next play, running back Corey Clement scored from 15 yards out to tie the game at 21. Just like that, Philly's win expectancy was back to 60.4 percent, which held true later when rookie kicker Jake Elliott booted a game-winning, 61-yard field goal as time expired. Eagles win 27-24.

Danny Amendola Reception on 3rd and 18

The Situation:

The New England Patriots were facing 3rd and 18 down 33-28, the ball at midfield and less than a minute to go in the game. Tom Brady hit Danny Amendola for 27 yards down to the Houston Texans 25-yard line.

The Take:

Despite leading by five and the Patriots still 25 yards from the go-ahead score, Houston's win expectancy dropped from 82.4 percent to 49.6 after Amendola's catch. The slot receiver - who missed most of the first two games with a concussion - only had two receptions for 21 yards before the clutch grab. On the very next play, Brady connected with Brandin Cooks for the go-ahead score with 23 seconds remaining. Patriots rally to win 34-33.

Marcus Cooper Stripped On Blocked FG Return

The Situation:

With the first half coming to a close, Chris Boswell's last-second field goal attempt was blocked by the Bears. Marcus Cooper scooped it up and took it to the hou … one-yard line where Pittsburgh's Vance McDonald stripped the ball and kept the Bears out of the end zone.

The Take:

As much as this game-changing play highlights Cooper's bonehead play at the end, it was the Steelers who truly paid the price. When Boswell lined up for the field goal attempt, Pittsburgh's win expectancy was 51.6 percent with a presumed make and 14-10 Bears lead at halftime.

However, by the time the kick was blocked, Cooper fumbled, an illegal batting penalty was called and Connor Barth kicked a field goal to extend the Bears lead to 17-7 at the half, the Steelers win-% dipped to 24.7 percent.

It could have been 14-all when Le'Veon Bell scored with 6:43 remaining in the third quarter (48.6 PIT EWin%) and the Steelers could have led 17-14 on a fourth quarter field goal following a Mike Glennon interception. Instead, they took a 17-all tie into overtime and lost on a Jordan Howard touchdown run. Bears survive Cooper's brain freeze and win 23-17.