Breaking Down Pivotal Moments of NFL Week 13
Week 13 in the NFL gave us some great moments in an exciting day of football.
With 10 of Sunday's games being decided by one score, one play could have been the difference between winning and losing.
We'll look at three of the biggest moments that decided games and break down the thinking and execution in what led to each play being so meaningful. Some may have worked out even though the actual process was flawed.
Andrew Luck's Last-Second Touchdown Pass
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On the surface and out of context, what Andrew Luck did on the final play of the Colts-Lions game is the worst thing a quarterback could do needing a touchdown with no time remaining.
A throw into the middle of the field and short of the end zone rarely works when the result of the play has to be a score, but this was different.
With Andrew Luck scrambling—something that has been incredibly effective at in the red zone this season—Luck threw the ball to receiver Donnie Avery on about the 9-yard line, trusting Avery to get in the end zone.
The incredible thing about this play is as soon as Luck releases the ball, he sprints in front of Avery in anticipation to throw a lead block to assure the score. The pass set Avery up perfectly between three Detroit defenders in the end zone, making a Luck block unneeded to score the touchdown.
Russell Wilson's Overtime Touchdown Pass to Sidney Rice
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The touchdown itself wasn't completely a great moment on its own—yes, as an overtime touchdown is very meaningful—but the greatness here was from what happened in the game before to lead to the touchdown.
Three incredible drives ended the Seahawks-Bears game in Chicago.
With 3:40 left in regulation, Russell Wilson led the Seahawks 97 yards down the field in 3:16 to score a touchdown and take a four-point lead.
On the ensuing drive, with only 24 seconds left, Jay Cutler competed a 56-yard pass to Brandon Marshall on the first play to set the Bears up in field-goal range. After a Matt Forte two-yard run, Robbie Gould came out to kick a 46-yard field goal to tie the game and send it into overtime.
In overtime, Wilson led a drive to make sure the Bears would never touch the ball. Taking 7:27 off the clock, the Seahawks took 12 plays to go 79 yards down the field, ending with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Sidney Rice to end the game.
Wilson's last two drives were not only incredible in themselves, but were done against a Chicago defense on the road, which could be big for Seattle, as they have struggled away from home this season.
Greg Zuerlein's 54-Yard Field Goal in Overtime
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The Rams and 49ers almost gave us another tie. As it got towards the end of the game, it looked like that's what both teams were playing for.
As the game went on, both teams seemed to become too reliant on their kickers. In overtime, both teams seemed content attempting 50-plus yard field goals to end the game.
Akers missed a 51-yard attempt with just over four minutes remaining, and Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein hit a 54-yard field goal to win the game.
Zuerlein has the capability to hit from 50-plus yards, but that doesn't mean that's where he should be attempting most of his kicks. All of Zuerlein's attempts on Sunday were over 50 yards, including a 58-yard attempt before the half.
Jeff Fisher and the Rams start to become conservative on offense once they get into 50-yard field-goal range. It happened three times in this game and has happened numerous times over the course of the season. This could start to hurt the Rams when they start playing more meaningful games—and at 5-6-1 they're not completely out of the playoff race.
Just because Zuerlein can hit from 54 yards out doesn't mean the Rams should be playing for a 54-yard field goal. A 34-yard field goal would be nice sometimes too.