GameChangers Week 2 (09/14/14)

By John Ewing
GameChangers, a look at plays that impacted the outcomes of games around the NFL. 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 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.

Saints vs. Browns


Cleveland's Billy Cundiff connected on a 29-yard field goal with three seconds left to give the Browns a 26-24 victory; it was the team's first win in a home opener since 2004.

Cleveland picked up 85 yards on the game winning drive to setup the Cundiff field goal but none were more important than a 28-yard pass from Brian Hoyer to Andrew Hawkins that gave the Browns the ball on the Saints 11-yard line with six seconds left. The completion turned what would have been a 50 plus yard field goal into a chip shot. The Browns odds of winning increased to 91 percent following the catch.

Cundiff has made 7 of 27 (26%) field goal attempts from 50 plus yards in his career. The nine year pro is a perfect 68 of 68 (100%) from inside 30 yards.

Had Hoyer not found Hawkins for the 28-yard gain, Cleveland's odds of winning would have dropped to 37 percent needing a 50 plus yard field goal for the win.

For additional GameChanging notes from this game click here.

Rams vs. Buccaneers


St. Louis kicker Greg Zuerlein kicked a 38-yard field goal with 42 seconds remaining to give the Rams a 19-17 road win. St. Louis was only the projected winner for 22 percent (13:17 minutes) of game time.

Despite the late score by St. Louis, Tampa Bay threatened to win the game only needing a field goal of their own to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Starting at the Buccaneers own 20-yard line and with 38 seconds left, Josh McCown quickly moved the ball into Rams territory. McCown's second pass was completed to Mike Evans for 29 yards giving Tampa Bay a first down at the Rams 32-yard line with 8 seconds left.

During the catch Evans was hurt and officials stopped the clock because the receiver was unable to come off the field under his own power. By rule and because Tampa Bay was also without a timeout, there was a 10 second run off, which ended the game.

Had Evans not been injured and Tampa Bay successfully spiked the ball to stop the clock, the Buccaneers would have been 78 percent likely to win.

For additional GameChanging notes from this game click here.


Packers vs. Jets


Green Bay avoided its first 0-2 start since 2006 by rallying from a 21-3 deficit and defeating New York 31-24.

The Jets had a chance and appeared to tie the game late with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Kerley on fourth down. The play was negated because a timeout was called from the Jets' sideline before the snap occurred. While only a head coach can call a timeout, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg signaled for play to be stopped. On the next play New York turned the ball over on downs and Green Bay successfully ran the clock out.

Jets fans will always wonder what would have happened if the timeout had not been called and New York tied the game with a touchdown. In that scenario Gang Green still loses as the Packers would have been 57 percent likely to win with possession and over three minutes left in the fourth.

For additional GameChanging notes from this game click here.


Bears vs. 49ers


Chicago scored 21 fourth quarter points to stun San Francisco 28-20. Turnovers were the difference in this game as Colin Kaepernick threw three interceptions, two in the fourth quarter, both dramatically swinging the game in Chicago's favor.

Kaepernick's first fourth quarter interception was the largest play-to-play swing in the game. Following Chicago's first fourth quarter touchdown (SF 20, CHI 14), Kaepernick was picked off by Kyle Fuller giving the Bears a 1st and goal at the 49ers 6-yard line. Chicago's expected win probability increased from 10 percent to 34 percent.

On San Francisco's next possession Kyle Fuller once again picked off Kaepernick. This time, with a 21-20 lead, Chicago became the projected winner for the first time in the game.

For additional GameChanging notes from this game click here.