NFL GameChangers: Week 11 Edition (11/21/16)
The Situation: With twelve minutes left in the game, down 12-10, the Chiefs found themselves on the Tampa Bay six yard line. On second down, Alex Smith faked a handoff to Spencer Ware and threw a timing route without hardly looking at the coverage. Chris Conte jumped the route for the Buccaneers for an easy interception and turned what was nearly a guaranteed lead for the Chiefs to zero points.
The Take: Conte's interception flipped the game on its head. The Bucs stood just a 22.8% chance to win as the Chiefs were about to take the lead, at home, as a superior team. After the end zone pick, the Bucs' odds jumped to 63.2%.
The Chiefs actually had a shot to come back down two possessions at the end of the game. However, this interception shaped the outcome even further. With three minutes left, without their timeouts, the Chiefs elected to run the ball from the two yard line, twice, which cost them over 30 seconds of game time when they got stuffed both times.
The Situation: The Dolphins trailed the Rams ten to nothing for a decent portion of the game. It wasn't until the fourth quarter until the Dolphins converted a third down. The Fins defense did keep them in the game, limiting Jared Goff's new offense to ten points. This allowed the Dolphins to score touchdowns on their last two drives of the game to win 14-10.
The Take: The biggest takeaway from the end of the game was how impressive DeVante Parker finished off the Rams. Parker caught a number of huge passes, including the game-winning touchdown he deserved. Parker's first big catch of the last drive came on a second and twelve where he came back to the ball and made a diving catch near the sideline for a first down on the Rams 35-yard line. This alone gave Miami the edge in the game, jumping their odds from 34.0% to 56.2%. The next play was a nine yard completion to Parker with just 1:20 left that gave the Dolphins a 72.5% chance to win. After a few big plays by the new standout back, Jay Ajayi, Parker caught the game-winner that gave Miami a 95.8% chance to win with 36 seconds left.
The Situation: The Cardinals drove down to the Vikings nine yard line with three minutes left in the first half, down 13-10. Palmer, with pressure in his face, anticipated John Brown to cut outside as he actually cut inside and Xavier Rhodes was in the right spot. Rhodes had an easy return for 100-yard touchdown.
The Take: Given the Cardinals, like the Chiefs, were almost guaranteed at least a tie game close to halftime, they had a 49.8% chance to win the game at that point. Instead, they were down two scores at half with their odds at just 23.3%. Palmer's downfalls this season in the red zone has hurt his team badly. They've created a lot of opportunities with little results.
On the flip side, the Vikings' defense has created mass chaos. It seems as though they score a defensive touchdown each week. Though this isn't usually a sustainable way to win games, the Broncos held the trophy at the end of last year in a similar fashion with a worse offense and quarterback. We also shouldn't forget about a huge offensive contributor the Vikings' could be counting on down the stretch. Adrian Peterson is now eligible to come off of the IR list and has resumed running.