Dissecting Top Game-Changing Plays of Critical Week 4 NFL Games

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Roddy White #84 of the Atlanta Falcons pulls in this reception against Haruki Nakamura #43 and Josh Norman #24 of the Carolina Panthers in the final seconds at Georgia Dome on September 30, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Week 4 of NFL action was wild. There's no other way to describe it, except with the plays you're going to see shortly.

Game-winning field goals, costly penalties and clutch catches defined Sunday's NFL action. Plays like these continue to make every NFL matchup worth watching, whether the teams competing had two combined wins or seven.

Let's take a look at five game-changing plays from Sunday's NFL contests.


Ramses Barden's Brutal Mistake

I could show you both of Lawrence Tynes' misses to seal the Giants' fate Sunday night, but this play was more important.

If Barden hadn't assaulted Nnamdi Asomugha inside the Eagles' 5-yard line, Tynes would have had a much better chance at making the game-winning try.

The entire last drive of this game was odd. Barden's pass interference followed interference calls against the Eagles on the two previous plays. Add Andy Reid's poorly timed icing of the kicker, and you have yourself a finish befitting of the rivalry.

Pass interference is judged poorly by the officials at times. This one wasn't; it couldn't have been more obvious.


Roddy White's Heroics

White finished the Falcons' game against the Panthers with eight catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns; no catch was bigger than this 59-yard snag with 59 seconds remaining in the game.

This isn't taking away from Matt Ryan's outstanding throw with his feet planted in his own end zone, but White flat-out took this ball from the Panthers defenders. His team had no timeouts left, making the catch almost necessary to win the game.

White has firmly established himself as one of the NFL's elite wide receivers. Plays like this only make that more obvious.

Matt Bryant would eventually hit the game-winning, 40-yard field goal to win the game and push the Falcons to 4-0 on the season.


Andre Roberts' Game-Tying Touchdown

The Cardinals' magic continued on Sunday, due in large part to Andre Roberts' outstanding game-tying snag.

Roberts hauled the ball in with 22 seconds left on the clock and his team down a touchdown to Miami. He had the concentration to catch the pass, get both feet down and knot the game at 21 apiece.

Kevin Kolb put this throw where it needed to be, but that's still a lot of pressure. Arizona has shocked everyone this year; Roberts didn't want to botch this play.

Roberts finished the game with six catches for 118 yards and two scores. The 15-yard grab you see here will be one of Arizona's most memorable plays all season long.

Jay Feely's 46-yard field goal in overtime ensured that Roberts' heroics wouldn't be wasted.


Aaron Rodgers' Redemption

The New Orleans Saints gave the Green Bay Packers all they could handle in Lambeau Field on Sunday before the Packers claimed a 28-27 victory.

A neck-and-neck game was decided by this 11-yard Jordy Nelson touchdown grab. The catch itself wasn't impressive; watching him force his way into the end zone was.

Nelson willed his team to victory when it needed him to, something it needed after last week's Monday Night Football debacle.

Nelson caught eight passes for 93 yards and a touchdown; no catch was bigger than this. He's Aaron Rodgers' most-trusted target, especially around the end zone, for this very reason.

New Orleans had seven minutes to tie the game, but Green Bay's improved defense was able to shut the door.

Minnesota Vikings Waste No Time

This may have been the first play of the game, but it set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin is electrifying in the open field, showcasing that with his 105-yard kickoff return to open the game.

Minnesota, along with the Arizona Cardinals, is one of the NFL's most surprising teams. Christian Ponder is completing 68 percent of his passes and commanding a 97.7 quarterback rating.

Beating NFC North foe Detroit was a major step in the right direction.

Not only did Harvin return the game's opening kick for a score, he wasn't even touched. Detroit's passing offense is still as dynamic as ever, but the rest of the franchise is a mess.

Allowing Harvin to take this one back gave an eerie feeling to this one right away, and the Vikings didn't look back.


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