GameChangers Week 8 (10/28/13)

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. 
Lions vs. Cowboys
The Detroit Lions completed a 10-point comeback late in the 4th quarter to beat the Cowboys Sunday aided by a holding penalty. Dallas tackle Tyron Smith was flagged for holding with 1:02 left in the 4th that stopped the clock for the Lions, Detroit was without timeouts.
After Dallas kicked a field goal to take a six point lead the Lions got the ball back with 0:56 left in the 4th and had a 4.0% chance of winning. Had the holding penalty not been called and the clock continued to run the Lions would have got the ball back with approximately 20 seconds remaining, their odds of winning drops to 2.0%.
Additional Note
It also helped when Stafford completed a 40-yard pass to Kris Durham. The long reception got the Lions within striking distance of the end zone and increased their odds of winning from 4.2% to 31.7%.
Patriots vs. Dolphins
A week after being the first team penalized for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for illegal pushing, the Patriots were beneficiaries Sunday of an unusual penalty. Miami’s Olivier Vernon was flagged for batting the ball when he knocked the football away from a Patriots player during a fumble recovery.
The penalty gave the Patriots a 1st down on the 13-yard line and made New England 94.1% likely to win. Without the penalty, it would have been 3rd and 29 from the Miami 45 yard line; the Patriots win percentage drops to 68.1%.
Additional Note
When Miami had the ball 1st and 10 at the Patriots 27-yard line with 11:36 left in the 3rd quarter New England’s odds of winning was just 6.1%. The Patriots’ two touchdowns in less than two minutes (following a missed Miami field goal) in the 3rd quarter that tied the game, increased New England’s odds of winning to 57.2%.
Chiefs vs. Browns
Kansas City remains undefeated after beating Cleveland 23-17. The outcome may have been different if it weren’t for a fumbled punt by the Browns with 7:07 left in the 4th quarter. The muffed punt by Davone Bess set the Chiefs up with 1st and 10 at the Kansas City 47-yard line, the Chiefs became 87.5% likely to win.
Had Bess not fumbled, the Chiefs odds of winning drops from 87.5% to 61.9%.