NFL GameChangers: Week 8 Edition (10/31/16)

By Frank Brank @realfbra

In this week's edition of GameChangers, we utilize our Live ScoreCaster technology to review the game-changing plays from the overtime games in Week 8 in the NFL. Considering the nature of the games, the three overtime games this week shared a large portion of the biggest swings in win percentage.

The Situation: The Redskins and Bengals played to yet another tie Sunday morning in London. Luckily, it was in front of a crowd that is used to accepting ties in football. The biggest moment of the game came when Dustin Hopkins missed a 34-yard field goal in overtime that would have won the game. Another big swing was when Andy Dalton fumbled around mid-field with just a minute left in overtime. The Redskins had a short field to work with and the clock was severely in their favor. Washington was not able to get anything going as Pierre Garcon committed a costly pass interference penalty that pushed the Redskins back ten yards from the Cincinnati-47 to the Washington-43. A tie was eventually reached.

The Take: Hopkins' 34-yard miss was his first under 40-yard miss of his two-year career, previously going 16-for-16. The league average from under 40 yards is 93%. We've now seen quite a few missed overtime field goals that have led to unfortunate consequences. This should put an emphasis on getting as close as possible or playing for touchdowns in overtime instead. Garcon's penalty wasn't a small splash either. Before the play, Washington held a 71.2% chance to win that was reduced to just 56.9% after the penalty.

The Situation: The typically reliable Sebastian Janikowski swung the Raiders-Buccaneers game quite a bit off his left foot on Sunday. At the end of regulation, the Janikowski missed a 50-yard field goal to send the game into overtime. With 11 minutes left in overtime, Janikowski missed a similar 52-yard field goal giving favorable field position back to Tampa Bay. Fortunately, the Raiders' shaky defense held the Buccaneers' offense down and went on to win the game.

The Take: With two seconds left on the clock in regulation, the Raiders held a 91.5% chance to win awaiting Janikowski's field goal. After the miss and as they received the kickoff in overtime, their odds were down to 58.6%. The second 50-yard miss in overtime swung the game to a 74.7% advantage for the Buccaneers as they would only need a handful of yards to attempt a game-winning field goal. Janikowski and the Raiders were a bit lucky to escape with a win given the chances they had to win. Granted, it would have been a much easier win had they not committed a record-setting 23 penalties in the game.

The Situation: The Cowboys, led by Dak Prescott, made a comeback after being down ten points in the fourth quarter to force overtime against the Eagles on Sunday Night Football. Dallas won the coin toss going into overtime and received the ball. Prescott and Elliott led the offense down to the Eagles' 28-yard line. In a rare act of aggressiveness, Jason Garrett allowed the offense back onto the field on fourth-and-one where Prescott snuck the ball up the middle for a first down. Prescott eventually went on to find Jason Witten wide open in end zone to cap the game-winning drive.

The Take: Garrett's rare act of courage instead of attempting a long field goal was the correct call. One would assume Prescott, behind that great offensive line, would gain at least one yard on fourth down at a pretty high rate. Going into the fourth down play, the Cowboys would have had 73.8% chance to win as trustworthy Dan Bailey would have been attempting a field goal and kicking the ball back to the Eagles. After the gain, the Cowboys now had a 91.8% chance to win. Garrett's call paid off massively and earned his team a win.