GameChangers Week 12 (11/25/13)

By John Ewing
GameChangers, a look at plays that impacted the outcomes of games around the league. If you have a suggestion for a GameChanger please direct all ideas via twitter to @johnewing.


 
To highlight the Live ScoreCaster, we will take our in-game technology, Live ScoreCaster, to the next level to review three of the game-changing plays from the NFL and what the game would have looked like if the plays had turned out differently. 
 
Broncos vs. Patriots
 
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots rallied to beat Denver in overtime. The Broncos led 24-0 at halftime and were 94.1% likely to win.
 
A fumble on a punt return in overtime was the deciding play of the game. Denver’s Tony Carter ran into Ryan Allen’s punt and the Patriots recovered the ball at the Denver 13-yard line.
 
Prior to the punt the Patriots were 45.8% likely to win. After recovering the fumble, New England became 93.7% likely to win. Had the Broncos retained possession their expected win probability would have been 54.9%.
 
The 24-point comeback was the largest deficit overcome to win a game in Patriots history (Elias).
 
Cowboys vs. Giants
 
The Cowboys have one of the worst 3rd down completion percentages (33.1%) in the league, they rank 29th out of 32 teams. On Sunday, Dallas finished 4 of 11 (36.4%) on 3rd down but the Boys converted on all three attempts on their game winning drive. The first of which was the most important.
 
Facing a 3rd and 7 from their own 23-yard line (after a false start penalty), Tony Romo finds Dez Bryant for an 18-yard gain. The Cowboys became 65.3% likely to win.
 
Had Romo’s pass been incomplete and the Cowboys been forced to punt, they net 42 yards on average, Big Blue would have become 70.4% likely to win starting from approximately their own 35-yard line.
 
Panthers vs. Dolphins
 
Trailing 16-13 with 2:33 left in the 4th quarter and facing a 4th and 10 from their own 20-yard line, Cam Newton connected with Steve Smith for a 19-yard gain. Before the completion Carolina was 17.8% likely to win. After the catch the Panthers odds of winning increased to 36.9%.
 
Despite the Panthers’ drive, Miami had a chance to win the game. With 0:18 left to play Ryan Tannehill threw a deep ball to Mike Wallace who had the ball go off his hands at the 1-yard line. Had Wallace made the catch (1st and goal from the 1-yard line), Miami spikes the ball (out of timeouts) to stop the clock, the Dolphins would have been 58.7% likely to win with one or two chances to score.
 
Buccaneers vs. Lions
 
Matthew Stafford threw four interceptions Sunday against the Buccaneers. The last pick was painful as the ball went in and out of Calvin Johnson’s hands. Before the interception the Lions were 46.2% likely to win, after the turnover the Buccaneers were 91.6% likely to win.
 
Had Megatron held onto the ball, Lions 1st and goal, Detroit becomes 80.6% likely to win.

Chargers vs. Chiefs
 
Alex Smith completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Bowe that gave Kansas City a 38-34 lead with 1:22 left in the 4th quarter. Game over, right?
 
The Chargers had a 13.5% chance of winning when they got the ball back. Those odds dipped to 7.7% when San Diego faced a 3rd down from their own 22-yard line. Phillip Rivers completed a pass to Antonio Gates for a 1st down and five plays later San Diego scored the winning touchdown.