NFL GameChangers: Week 5 Edition (10/8/17)

By Ryan Fowler
In this edition of GameChangers, we will utilize our Live ScoreCaster technology to review the game-changing plays from Week 5 of the 2017 NFL season.



The Situation

The New York Giants led 22-20 - with less than five minutes to go in the game - when Eli Manning fumbled and the Chargers recovered the loose ball on the Giants 11-yard line.

The Take

Before the turnover, the Giants' two-point lead and known field position (their own 23) gave them a win expectancy of 65.4%. The thought being, even if they fail to convert on third down, they punt and field position flips. However, the fumble recovery swung the pendulum so far, Los Angeles' WP% became 71.6 percent. Three plays later, Philip Rivers dropped a pass off to Melvin Gordon who scored the go-ahead touchdown – 27-22 Chargers – 85.9 WP% - with just under three minutes to go. It didn't dip below 70% the rest of the game.

The Giants had been playing with fire after the Chargers rallied down 9-0 to take a 10-9 lead into halftime. As we later learned, the trickle-down-impact of this fumble and subsequent score indirectly led to Odell Beckham's broken ankle. Had the Giants not been forced to pass down five points in the two-minute drill, one can question whether or not their top receiver would have been targeted. From a game-to-season changer in one play.



The Situation

Trailing 31-28 late in the fourth quarter and facing 3rd-and-8 from the Dallas 30, Aaron Rodgers broke a tackle and scrambled 18 yards down to the Cowboys 12.

The Take

Dallas defensive end David Irving nearly tripped up Rodgers at the Cowboys' 37-yard-line, which would have forced Mason Crosby into a very long field goal on a night when he already missed two extra points. Instead, Rodgers picks up the first down, targets Davante Adams on back-to-back plays, the second good for six and the lead with 11 seconds left. The Packers started that drive with a win expectancy of 23.5% and it finished 86.6%.

And this brings us to a popular “hindsight is 20/20” question: did the Cowboys score too early? Dak Prescott's go-ahead touchdown came with 1:13 remaining and the Packers have one timeout, which Rodgers used before the third-down scamper.

It would have been 1st-and-goal Cowboys and the Packers with no timeouts. Makes sense, but we're not all Brian Westbrook.





The Situation

With the Steelers leading midway through the third quarter, Ben Roethlisberger tossed two pick-sixes on back-to-back possessions allowing the Jaguars to build a double-digit edge.

The Take

Down 9-7 in the third quarter, Jacksonville's win expectancy was 25.4%, but by the time Telvin Smith returned Roethlisberger's interception for six, the Jags crept over the 52% threshold with a 13-7 lead (PAT failed). The Steelers were stunned by a jab to the face, but it wasn't quite a GameChanger. The ensuing haymaker was Big Ben bit by some bad luck on a high pass over the middle that was tipped directly into the hands of Barry Church who returned it 52 yards untouched. Jags win expectancy soared to 78% and remained above 69% the rest of the game.

As 8-point home favorites facing the 32nd-ranked rush defense in the league, it's hard to wrap your head around Le'Veon Bell's 15 carries on the afternoon. Granted, some of Roethlisberger's passes were warranted in the fourth, but 55 attempts?!?!

He became the first Steelers quarterback to throw five interceptions in a game since 1987 (Mark Malone). Terry Bradshaw did it twice at the age of 29 and 31. Big Ben is 35 years old.