Game Changing Play of the Week: Derek Carr Fumble Results in Massive Point Swing

A Derek Carr fumble across the goal line turns into the definition of a game changing play.

Rarely do you get a "Game Changing Play of the WeeK' choice as obvious as the one for Sunday's contest between the Raiders and the Packers. Derek Carr's fumble out of the end zone meant the Raiders went from having a chance at going up 17-14 to suddenly benig down 28-10 the next time they'd get a chance to put together an offensive drive.

The announcers noted it multiple times in the game, but this was as "game changing" as a play can possibly get. And it came on an unforced error from the Raiders quarterback

The play

In the first half, it looked as though the Raiders would be pounding the ball down the Packers' throats all day long. And this drive was no exception. After the Packers went up 14-10, the Raiders drove right back down the field, and had the momentum on their side once again. But for the second time in his career in a goal-to-go situation, Derek Carr ends up fumbling the ball out of the endzone.

You wish you could say this was a great play by the Packers' defense, but really this is Carr just making a boneheaded mistake. While getting shoved out of bounds by Blake Martinez after a decent scramble to bring the ball down inside the five yard line, he gets a little greedy and attempts to extend the ball with one hand out past the goal line. 

The problem here is that Carr's grip on the ball apparently wasn't strong enough to maintain control. Rather than bring the ball past the goal line, he accidentally drops it, and it rolls past the goal line and then out of bounds. According to NFL rules, a fumble through the endzone results in a turnover to the defense and a touchback, a rule that has drawn much consternation over the years (including from a play like this by Carr against Dallas just a couple years ago). 

Complain about the rule if you will, but the interpretation was exactly correct. Carr's mistake halted the Raiders' drive and resulted in the Packers getting the ball back with enough time to score a touchdown before the half (a beautiful sidelinne toss to Jake Kumerow, who tightrope walked to the endzone). The Packers would then receive the ball first in the second half and pick up another touchdown on an Aaron Rodgers scramble. 

You can basically say this play resulted in a 21-point swing, as it took a touchdown opportunity away from the Raiders and resulted in the Packers getting 14 unanswered points to put the game out of reach for the rest of the afternoon.

On a day where the Packers' defense was far from perfect, this miscue gave them room to play much more loosely in the second half. The Packers allowed only one more meaningful touchdown before some fourth quarter garbage time points. 

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (28)

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4thand1's picture

October 21, 2019 at 04:04 pm

Real dumb play by Carr considering he did the same exact play against Dallas a few years ago. The play looked so identical, if you didn't see the Cowboys uniforms you couldn't tell the difference.

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murf7777's picture

October 21, 2019 at 05:46 pm

I don’t see it as a dumb play by Carr. He’s trying to make a winning play that I’m sure he felt he could make. Rodgers would try to do the same thing. Any competitive player would IMO. If he runs out of bounds who knows if they make it to the end zone.

Cudos goes to Martinez for A great hustle play. Similar to Alexander catching the Detroit receiver last week. These guys don’t give up and are fun to watch.

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ThxJackVainisi's picture

October 21, 2019 at 07:41 pm

I think it was a dumb play: First it was second down. Plenty of time left & they would've had the ball on about the 1 yard line. And it wasn't as if he had no idea such a thing could happen since that exact thing happened to him previously.

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Minniman's picture

October 22, 2019 at 03:36 am

Rule number 1 of football - protect (and respect) the football. I totally agree with you ThxJackVainisi.

....... Ironically, I was going to make a call that he gets paid the most on the team to make sound judgement calls.......... but he doesn't! .......He's the equal top earner this year with the RT Trent Brown..... and the third best earner is the C Rodney Hudson.... with daylight for fourth till fifth!

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4thand1's picture

October 21, 2019 at 08:14 pm

Did you see the Dallas play? Sticking the ball out with one hand with a defender bearing down equaled fumble, twice and touchback.

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Slim11's picture

October 22, 2019 at 09:07 am

This makes me wonder if Carr has the same problem as Daunte Culpepper...his hands are smaller than most other QBs' hands. Culpepper had similar problems. I remember several games where Packers' defenders would attack the ball and force Culpepper to fumble.

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GBPDAN1's picture

October 21, 2019 at 04:24 pm

Jumped out of my seat when I saw the ball roll out of bounds from the endzone. What huge development. Our D was getting destroyed basically and that stop was huge. Good hustle by Martinez. Also another big stop by Kings interception in the endzone.

Our D was hemraging yards again. Was anyone else disappointed with our coverage of TEs? I kept yelling to put a man on number 83 and run with him as he was always getting wide open with no one around him. Can't wait for Savage to get back

Anyways, great win. Our Offense just keeps getting better and we still have Adams on his way back. We should win these next 4 road games. Niners game will be interesting

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 21, 2019 at 09:07 pm

They had two guys to stop from the Raiders and they couldn't figure that out. Jacobs became less relevant after the Pack put up some points ,but at some point in the show Pettine has to takeout their playmakers. The free and easy routes by Waller were a joke.

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GBPDAN1's picture

October 22, 2019 at 01:18 pm

Agreed. And that's exactly what Belichick does , concentrate on taking out the opponents strength

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Packer_Fan's picture

October 21, 2019 at 04:20 pm

That was a big play. But the Pack still had a good chance of winning. This comment by RCPackerFan says it all to me.

"LaFleur's offensive scheme - The greatest difference from previous years to this year IMO is the use of the RB's in the passing game. Under McCarthy the RB's were mostly used as pass blockers. Also the rotation of the RB's was simply just stupid. He would rotate RB's by series. Under LaFleur they rotate whenever. But LaFleur uses the RB's as weapons in the passing game. That is something that has completely changed the offense. Teams now no longer can just defend the WR's. By the RB's getting involved in the passing game it forces defenses to play the whole field. You can see now it is starting to open up more plays down the field. Also, who doesn't love the FB pass!"

Rodgers completed 10 passes to backs. That's 160 for a full year. The past few years, Rodgers may have completed 40-50 passes to RB's. Farve use to complete about 100 per year. I remember last year, I believe in the Seattle game(?) where Rodgers missed a third down pass late in the game. Jones was open for a dump off and probably could have scored. Whatever happened with MM and Rodgers, they got away from an important part of the offense, the short passes to RB's. Those short passes accounted for over 100 yards of offense. So important.

I believe this is beginning to open up the offense just like the comment I posted. And when you have a defense that can make critical stops, things go good. And by the way, those hated Patriots who have won too many SB's, James White, a RB was their leading receiver last year. And the SB MVP against Atlanta when I believe he caught 14 passes.

This time without Adams is good for the team, for Rodgers has to share the ball with more receivers. Things are really looking good for the Pack.

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CAG123's picture

October 21, 2019 at 05:28 pm

It was still points taken away from the offense which in then turned into points for the Packers that’s why they keep track of “points off turnovers” regardless if the TO is returned or not. The Raiders were moving the ball at will and this could have turned into a shootout. The Packers wanted to bury them knowing they would get the ball back at half time.

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CAG123's picture

October 21, 2019 at 05:29 pm

Oops that was for Mojo

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Minniman's picture

October 22, 2019 at 04:14 am

It's been quite the revelation to take Davante Adams away from Rodgers and make him view all potential targets as equals.

Props to Jimmy Graham for making the catch this week that he dropped last week. I'm interested to see how he goes with similar style throws.

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Coldworld's picture

October 22, 2019 at 06:46 am

Great comment. As I look at it, we are still feeling this offense finding itself. At this stage, we have sporadic areas that fire, but it is not all in tune or consistent. A month ago it fell apart once the scripted plays ran out. We have come a long way.

I expect us to get more effective and more diverse as the season progresses and to increase our hit rate on played as players become more instinctive, gain experience generally and in the system, which is essential to in play adaptation.

We have come a long way with a lot of raw pieces: raw talent is unreliable. Playing time will only improve our overall depth.

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Mojo's picture

October 21, 2019 at 04:58 pm

That this was a 21 point swing is ridiculous. The Packers had to earn their next two touchdowns regardless of the Carr TO. It's the same as if they received the ball on their own 20 or 25 after a punt or KO. They still had to work their way down field.

An example of a huge shift in points might be when a QB from inside the opponents ten throws an INT in the end-zone which is returned the other way for a TD. The Carr play probably cost the Raiders a minimum of 3 points (even that's not a given) and a max of eight. Nothing more.

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Samson's picture

October 21, 2019 at 05:52 pm

You're correct... As critical as that play was, saying it was a 21 point swing is misleading & overly dramatic.... The Pack "O" still had to perform well to score the 14 points.

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Barazinho's picture

October 22, 2019 at 02:13 pm

If Oakland doesn't fumble, and scores a TD until almost no time is left on the clock, GB doesn't score before the half - that's a 14 point swing. The other 7 points is just the start of the 2nd half, but it still adds up - most everybody values consecutive possessions through halftime as a way to swing momentum.

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ThxJackVainisi's picture

October 22, 2019 at 07:58 pm

No, if Carr scores or they score on the next play the Packers have about the same amount of time as they had. And the fact the Packers received the 2nd half KO had nothing to do with what happened at the end of the 1st half.

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Barazinho's picture

October 24, 2019 at 04:42 pm

But it was first down - it's not a guarantee that they score on the next play.

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jsb937's picture

October 21, 2019 at 04:45 pm

Definitely the game changer. Would of been a dog fight if Derek Carr scored.

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ThxJackVainisi's picture

October 21, 2019 at 07:33 pm

Not neccesarily. If he scored & the Packers scored before halftime & scored on their first possession of the 3rd quarter (as they did) the game could have proceeded just as it did.

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Samson's picture

October 21, 2019 at 05:56 pm

Even live --- the first thought that popped up was "he fumbled through the endzone!".--- Packers ball!

The penalty is too severe (losing the ball).... Ten yard penalty & loss of down is strong enough.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 21, 2019 at 09:13 pm

Fundamental Rules of Football cannot be severed. He gave away control of the ball. The endzone is just what it says END of Zone. Now the ball is in the opponents zone and they own it. Very Fair.

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Leatherhead's picture

October 21, 2019 at 10:02 pm

If you fumble the ball into the end zone, and then it goes out of bounds, you don’t deserve the ball back. JMO.

Protect the rock. I never have liked guys stretching it out and risking a fumble

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SterlingSharpe's picture

October 21, 2019 at 10:09 pm

Fumbles going out of bounds, do they give the ball to the defense?
Then why when it's thru the end zone & not recovered by the defense?
I loved the rule yesterday & knew what occurred immediately.
But it's still a nonsensical rule to me.

Like finger tips to QB helmets being personal fouls, but smashing QBs into their collarbones are ok. Cuz "safety" is their focus.....

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Lphill's picture

October 22, 2019 at 05:41 am

I think it happened to James Jones once when he was trying to stretch the ball over the goal line.

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porupack's picture

October 22, 2019 at 05:54 am

Agree with Mojo; great storyline about momentum shift, but not a "21 point swing".

Seems after Packers lost their football karma recent years , they have had some very fortunate things go their way this year so far. Not surpassing Patriots, but still a number of games with good fortune. Now, just need a break on injuries.

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Swisch's picture

October 22, 2019 at 10:01 am

Props to Will Redmond for making a touchdown-saving tackle that allowed for Carr's turnover; and to Blake Martinez for hustling to the sideline to put Carr under duress. Little things make big differences.

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