NFL Gamechangers, the column that brings you the biggest plays that you won’t see on the highlights. These are the plays and players that changed the outcome of the games this weekend, but really don’t get the fanfare or hype that they deserve given their key role in the outcome of the game. Of course touchdowns are important, but these are plays that help to set up those touchdowns and give a team momentum throughout the course of the day.source: Big Cat Country
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Our Gamechanger here came relatively early in the game. Late in the 1st quarter the Colts were up 3-0, and Andrew Luck tried to go deep down the sideline to Reggie Wayne, but his long pass was a little bit underthrown and intercepted by Aaron Ross. However there was a flag on the play Jeremy Mincey took a penalty for roughing the passer, he had hit Luck just as he released the ball, but it was helmet to helmet on a QB in the pocket, good call. Instead of an interception, the Colts got an extra 15 yards and a 1st down. Indianapolis would finish the drive by scoring a Touchdown on a Luck run and go up 10-0. They never looked back and blew the Jags out of the water.
Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots
A late turnover preserved a 6 point win for the Patriots, but I’m going to look at an earlier turnover in this game changer. Our game changer comes with the Patriots up 34 – 24 in the fourth quarter and the Bills driving down the field. A nice Fred Jackson run takes the Bills down to the 1 yard line, but Devin McCourty forces a fumble and the Pats take the ball back. The Bills looked like they were going to make this a 3 point game with 9:35 to play but the Pats D came up with huge play to take points off the board. In a game that came right down to the wire, turnovers once again became critical.
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
The Saints ended the Falcons unbeaten run on Sunday. However Atlanta had a chance to win the game. With 1:45 to play and the Saints up by 4 the Falcons had the ball 2nd and goal at the 1 yard line. It was an impressive defensive stand by a much maligned Saints defense. First Matt Ryan overthrew Tony Gonzalez in the endzone. Our game changer comes on 3rd down, as the Saints Defensive Line made an impressive stand stuffing Michael Turner in the backfield for a one yard loss. The penetration, and gang tackle on Turner led to the play you will see on the highlights. On fourth and two, Matt Ryan was looking for his favorite receiver Roddy White. Jabari Greer made a game saving, diving pass knockdown to keep the Dirty Birds out of the endzone and bring the Saints back into the playoff chase. The Saints who were once 0-4, are now 4-5 on the season.
Denver Broncos @ Carolina Panthers
With the score 17-7 for Denver in the third quarter, a defensive play iced the game. Newton threw a pass into the waiting arms of Broncos defensive back Tony Carter whose 40 yard return for the Touchdown is sure to make all the highlight packages. What we may not see is the pressure from Von Miller that made the play possible. Von Miller was in Cam Newton’s face all day and its this pressure, applied by the front 7 that forces those ill-advised passes and mistakes out of quarterbacks. While Carter gets the glory and the pick 6 on the stat sheet, its a team game, and it wouldn’t be possible without the pass rush of Von Miller, who gets our tip of the cap for this gamechanger.
St. Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers
On the first play of Overtime, it appeared the Rams had and 80 yard pass to Danny Amendola. This play would have set St. Louis up with first and goal at the San Francisco 2, needing just 2 yards to win the game on a first drive touchdown in overtime. However a simple mistake by the Rams caused the whole thing to be called back. Brandon Gibson didn’t line up on the line of scrimmage as designed instead lining up 1 yard behind the line. This caused an illegal formation penalty which negated the play and sent the Rams into 1st and 20. A few stalled drives by both teams, and two missed FGs (which will probably get the attention) and we have our first NFL tie in 5 years, but it didn’t need to get that far. Surely with a first and goal from the 2 yard line, the Rams could have gotten a TD, or at the very least a field goal.
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