GameChangers Week 6 (10/19/15)

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.

The Decision

Colts vs. Patriots



With the Colts trailing 27-21, Indy brought out its punt team on fourth down on their own 37-yard line. Instead of lining up in a normal punt formation, the Colts split the majority of their team out right leaving only a center and one other player near the ball.



Colts safety Colt Anderson took the snap and was immediately tackled. New England became 88 percent likely to win with the ball at the Indianapolis 36-yard line after blowing up the fake punt.

Had the Colts converted the fake for a first down, Indy becomes 26 percent likely to win. If Chuck Pagano has his team punt the ball, assuming Indianapolis' net punting average, the Colts expected win probability becomes 19 percent.

The difference between the successful trick play and a punt is just seven percent in win probability. In a game where your team is a big home underdog, every extra percentage is key so faulting Pagano for being aggressive might not be fair but the execution of the play was poor.

For additional GameChanging notes from this game click here.

The Play

Lions vs. Bears



Detroit topped Chicago 37-34 in overtime for the Lions first win. The play of the game was a 57-yard bomb from Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson that set up the game winning field goal late in the extra session.

Johnson's mega-catch increased Detroit's expected win probability by 25 percent and the Lions became 93 percent likely to win.

Had Johnson not made the catch, Chicago's expected win probability increases from 7 percent to 35 percent with Detroit facing a 3rd-and-10 from the other side of the 50-yard line.

For additional GameChanging notes from this game click here.

Additional Highlights

Pittsburgh rallied to beat Arizona 25-13 with their third-string quarterback. Landry Jones found Martavis Bryant for an 88-yard catch-and-run (which made the Steelers greater than 99 percent likely to win) that sealed the game with less than two minutes to play.

Cam Newton rallied Carolina for a 27-23 win over Seattle. The Panthers had to go 80-yards with just over two minutes to play and needed a Newton to Greg Olsen (had a 54.7 net win percentage) touchdown with 32 seconds left to move to 5-0.

Green Bay survived San Diego to win 27-20 Sunday afternoon. The Chargers had the ball 1st-and-goal from the three-yard line with less than a minute to play trailing by a score but the Packers were never less than 80 percent likely to win.

The Jets trailed Washington 13-10 at halftime but New York started the second half by scoring 24 unanswered points. The Jets expected win probability increased from 54 percent to 98 percent after the scoring binge.

With the Chiefs trailing 16-10, Jamaal Charles replacement, Charcandrick West, fumbled with less than five minutes to play in Minnesota territory. The turnover made the Vikings 98 percent likely to win.

Denver rode its defense to a 26-23 victory over Cleveland in overtime. After Peyton Manning threw his third interception early in overtime, the Broncos defense had a tackle behind the line of the scrimmage and then consecutive sacks that knocked the Browns out of field goal range. Denver's expected win probability increased from 28 percent to 60 percent.