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    GameChangers Week 4 (10/05/15)

    By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @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.

    The Play

    Rams vs. Cardinals

    St. Louis handed Arizona its first loss of the season with a 24-22 home defeat. The Rams forced three turnovers that led to 17 points but Jeff Fisher's squad was fortunate that their mistakes did not lead to points for the Cardinals.

    Late in the third quarter, inside their own 10-yard line, St. Louis running back Benny Cunningham was stripped of the ball and Arizona recovered. However, officials ruled that Cunningham's forward progress had been stopped. Therefore the play was dead and the fumble never occurred. Replay showed otherwise and the fumble should have stood.

    If Arizona gets possession inside the Rams 10-yard line trailing 17-12, the Cardinals would have become 61 percent likely to win. Instead, St. Louis retained possession and Arizona's expected win probability dropped to 38 percent.

    For additional GameChanging notes from this game click here.

    The Decision

    Chiefs vs. Bengals

    Kansas City fell to Cincinnati 36-21 in the Queen City. Alex Smith was sacked five times, the defense allowed five touchdowns and Carlos Santos tied a record for the second most field goals in an NFL game by connecting from 22, 40, 51, 34, 40, 29 and 51 yards.

    The first five attempts made sense (brought Kansas City to within in one score of tying or taking the lead) but the last two were indefensible decisions by Andy Reid as each were kicked with Kansas City trailing by at least two touchdowns in the fourth.

    Combined, the last two field goals actually lowered the Chiefs' expected win probability by four percent, which doesn't seem like much but Kansas City was never greater than seven percent likely to win in the game's final quarter.

    Perhaps Reid thought longer field goals were worth more points, like in fantasy.

    For additional GameChanging notes from this game click here.

    Additional Highlights

    Jaguars kicker Jason Myers missed a 53-yard field goal (twice) at the end of regulation and then another 48-yard attempt (decreased Jacksonville's expected win probability by 37 percent) in overtime. Adam Vinatieri booted a 27-yarder to win the game 16-13.

    The Jets started fast in London led by Ryan Fitzpatrick who completed a 58-yard pass to Brandon Marshall on the team's first play from scrimmage (was the largest swing in win probability in the game). New York defeat Miami 27-14 in Wembley Stadium.

    Jay Cutler shook off a costly fourth quarter interception (lowered Chicago's expected win probability by 25 percent) to lead the Bears on a game-winning drive. Chicago upset Oakland 22-20 at home.

    Kirk Cousins navigated Arizona 90 yards for a game-winning score. Before the drive the Redskins were 27 percent likely to win.

    Saints kicker Zack Hooker hit the upright on a potential game-winning field goal (New Orleans' expected win probability dropped from 93 percent to 56 percent) at the end of regulation but Drew Brees threw his 400th career touchdown pass in overtime to give New Orleans its first win of the season.

    Pittsburgh kicker Josh Scobee missed two field goals late (combined the misses lowered the Steelers expected win probability by 53 percent) that could have won the game. In overtime Justin Tucker booted a 42-yarder to win the game.

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    NFL Trends Week 5 (10/07/15)
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