Game Changing Play of the Week: Kevin King INT Stalls Dallas Comeback Momentum

Kevin King makes yet another crucial play to help halt a potential Dallas comeback.

For the second time this season, Kevin King is responsible for the Game Changing Play of the Week here at CheeseheadTV.

If you're a Packer fan, you probably don't feel comfortable even when your team has a 31-3 lead in the third quarter. Because things can never be easy (and because the Cowboys are actually a decent team), they came storming, outscoring the Packers 21-3 the remaining way.

The Cowboys never again got within a score of the Packers after the score was 14-0, but they were certainly threatening to do so and make it interesting in the fourth quarter. The momentum was all on their side, and with the score at 31-17, the Cowboys had more than 10 minutes to score two touchdowns and tie the game up. The way the Cowboys had been able to move the ball against the Packers' defense, it was beginning to seem the Cowboys actually had a legitimate shot at bringing this thing back.

But then Kevin King happened.

The play

Dallas lined up out of the shotgun with Jason Witten in line as the tight end, two wide receivers split out left and one out right. Dak Prescott looks left toward Amari Cooper first, then comes back right hoping to find his second read, Michael Gallup, who's matched up in single coverage against Kevin King.

With the exception of one game this season, King has been playing some extra-sticky coverage. Here's a look from behind the secondary.

There's been a lot of talk about whether illegal contact should have been called on the play, and you could certainly make that argument. But both players are definitely initiating contact with each other and battling for the ball. It's hard to know what the actual play design here is, but it looks as though Prescott is expecting Gallup to break out toward the sideline rather than in toward the hash. While battling Gallup, King is able to see exactly where Prescott is looking to throw the ball, giving him the advantage. When the pass comes in, he makes a break and grabs the crucial interception.

Impressive play by King, and an important turnover. This in itself didn't end the game, of course, but it did make it significantly more difficult for the Cowboys to come back. The Packers were able to get a field goal off of this turnover to make the score 34-17, putting the Packers back up by three scores with about eight minutes to go. Coming back from three scores with eight minutes to go is dramatically more challenging than coming back from two scores with 10 and a half minutes to go. 

This had a ripple effect on the rest of the game. The Cowboys managed to score a touchdown to make the game 34-24. Without that field goal, the game may have been 31-24, and that last Cowboys' drive that ended in a missed field goal to bring the game within a score and prompt an onside kick try would instead have been a drive on which the Cowboys were looking to tie the game and force overtime.

So another huge play by Kevin King at a crucial moment of the game.

Kevin King continues a banner season

Aside from one rough showing this season, Kevin King has had an excellent season of football so far. For my money, he's made the biggest leap of any second- or third-year player on the team. 

He's of course been helped by the addition of an actually threatening pass rush and a pair of NFL-caliber safeties to go along with an all-pro level corner on the opposite side of the field. But don't let that take away from what King has accomplished so far this season. He's playing tight coverage and making crucial plays with regularity. 

What's more, King was doubtful to even suit up for this game at one point late in the week last week. Not only did he play, but he excelled, and he made the most crucial play of the game to seal a massively important road victory against a playoff-caliber team.

Kevin King has gotten a lot of extremely unfair hate from Packer fans. Hopefully those fans start to appreciate what the team has in him.

__________________________

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 (25)

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Oppy's picture

October 07, 2019 at 07:11 pm

This just in: Kevin King- kinda talented

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Swisch's picture

October 07, 2019 at 09:02 pm

From the back -- the only angle I've seen of this interception -- it does indeed look to me as if Kevin King is committing pass interference over and over.
However, maybe it would look much different from other angles.
I'm glad to get other viewpoints from other fans, because this indeed was the game-changing play of the week as described above.
In any case, the larger point about the emergence of Kevin King into top form as a cornerback is indeed great news!
It's also a reminder to all of us to generally be patient with young talent such as Rashan Gary.

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mamasboy's picture

October 08, 2019 at 04:24 am

Good point about being patient with Rashan.

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Minniman's picture

October 08, 2019 at 04:34 am

Swisch, I thought that the fact that both players were getting "handsy" without either grabbing or pushing influenced the refs to let them go at it.

Maybe the refs thought that if it was truly egregious then in a normal circumstance then the coach would challenge (although I think that Jason Garrett had blown all his by the time of this incident).

That said, the helmet slapping that King did on Gallup was about equivalent to the roughing the passer effort that Rashan Gary got called on........So I think that things evened out in the end (although the ambiguity over what is and isn't either roughing the passer or PI is affects the credibility of the game and needs to be addressed).

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Houndog's picture

October 08, 2019 at 08:32 am

I agree Minniman, I've watched the replay a dozen times, a lot of had slapping by both players but nothing that really deterred either one of them, so the Refs let them play. Kinda' the way football once was.
On the play in question, had you put a #31 and the name Harris on King's back I might have thought we were watching old film, and I'll take that all day!
King's talent has always been visible but the injury bug has held him back. Stay healthy kid, we're gonna need you.

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optimisticfan's picture

October 08, 2019 at 07:11 am

Yes PI.

But excited for Kevin Kings overall game. And to all his detractors he may have had his fair share of injuries the last few years but when it is reasonable, he is playing through injuries. I would rather have him even for half a season out there then dumping him like some reactionary fans have suggested in the past.

Hoping there will be an article like this that can be written about Josh Jackson in the next year or so. Come on and develop.

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murf7777's picture

October 08, 2019 at 08:15 am

I agree some fans write players off far too quickly and expect perfection, which of course isn’t possible.

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stockholder's picture

October 08, 2019 at 10:34 am

Prescott picked on King for several straight plays. He almost had two picks. I've never wrote off King. This defense needs him, and they do play better with him.

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Swisch's picture

October 08, 2019 at 10:50 am

I appreciate the good comments.
In the end, it seems the key to the interception was that the receiver turned inside and the throw was made to the outside.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 08, 2019 at 09:15 pm

No PI, within the five yard zone BEFORE the pass is launched. Correct callby the Vegas zebras.

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Since'61's picture

October 07, 2019 at 10:16 pm

I’ve liked Kevin King from the beginning. He is continuing to evolve as a CB and with Alexander on the other side King is going to see plenty of passes coming his way. He plays tough and even when a reception is made he is a good tackler and allows few YAC.

On this particular play both players were probably guilty of illegal contact. However nothing was called and King made the play halting the Dallas comeback and putting the Packers in field position for the key add on FG.

Hopefully King can stay healthy because our defense is better when he is in the field and he can make big plays at key points in the game. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ‘61

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dblbogey's picture

October 07, 2019 at 11:04 pm

This should quiet the King haters, and there have been plenty of them in this forum.

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ricky's picture

October 08, 2019 at 11:53 am

Define the term "hater" as it relates to King. Because the guy is talented, but he has also missed approximately half the games since being drafted with various injuries. In that regard, he's similar to Bulaga or Jones. Jones is in his third year also, but has ended up on IR the first two years. Hopefully this year will be different. Sometimes the rookies not only have to learn to play a position, but how to maintain their conditioning year around. That this is the job you've been trying for since you were in your early teens. Now you have it, you have to work even harder to keep it.

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A Pickled Packer's picture

October 08, 2019 at 05:16 am

I would like to take back a Bronx wisecrack I layed on Kevin in my last post saying the only thing he can press in a press defense are his pants. He not only can press the receivers pants but he gives them a boot in the ass after he's done. Way to go and very inspiring as well. Stay in that lineup pal, with you we're going to be a top five D.

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Nick Perry's picture

October 08, 2019 at 05:34 am

King has been excellent this season. I've been especially hard on him because I wanted Thompson to draft Watt but the dude can play when healthy. AND he's been a gamer playing through injury. Z Smith, King and others are gutting it out through injuries. Something that sure didn't happen last season.

SIDE NOTE...The Bills just traded Zay Jones to the Raiders for a 5th round pick. Jones is DEFINITELY a guy that could help the Packers. Common Gute, go get us an improvement at WR over what we. Saunders from Denver would be an AWESOME #2 with Adams...

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Houndog's picture

October 08, 2019 at 08:17 am

I agree with your Side Note Nick, we could certainly use some help. What's happened to Allison's hands? Hopefully the Pack's Pro Personnel people have their eyes open and are looking and listening. Some under-performing (or just plain lousy) team could have a fire sale any day now.

And for my own side note, if his injury isn't serious, seeing a bit more Tonyan (and less Graham) might not be a bad idea either.

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Lphill's picture

October 08, 2019 at 05:35 am

That was a bad call on Gary for touching Prescott’s helmet more like brushed against it I hope that call does not diminish his aggressive in the future, I have seen Rodgers have hands to his head several times especially against the Eagles and no calls.

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 08, 2019 at 09:19 pm

It was a bogus call as Gary was engaged and Zak was on the move as a runner. Changed the momentum and kept Vegas in the hunt to cover the spread--epic fail.

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MarkinMadison's picture

October 08, 2019 at 07:33 am

Whether it should have been called or not he will have to clean it up or it will get called next game. The refs will have heard Aikman's howling and they will be looking for it. Hard to see from this angle but I think Gallup's right arm came up a couple of steps into the clip and that is what started the hand fighting. I don't remember where the LOS was on that play and I don't know if the clip was complete.

I've always liked King but the healthy part has started to fray on me this season. I'm glad he played through injury but I'd be happier if he found a way to stay healthy. Maybe that is just not possible. Same thing for Aaron Jones. We can get as excited as we want, but the difference between Jones this year and Jones the last two years is not coaching genius, it's just plain old availability.

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PatrickGB's picture

October 08, 2019 at 08:20 am

I have not been a hater of King. However, I have often remarked that his slight frame is vulnerable to injury. Kudos to him for playing through pain and injury. His length and speed allows him to excel in coverage but it comes with a price. I am rooting for the guy and hope he spends time with the trainers to help mitigate any further injuries.

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murf7777's picture

October 08, 2019 at 08:20 am

I love his aggressive play, ala Sherman. Most plays you can call pass interference, just like O holding. Great D pushes this to the limit and plays aggressive. Remember the Seattle D, they were uber aggressive.

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PackfanNY's picture

October 08, 2019 at 08:39 am

The whole book on Kevin King is simple. He needs to stay healthy. He can be one heck of a weapon for the Packer defense. The more playing time he gets the better he can become. He has all the traits you look for in a DB. Just needs to stay on the field.

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GBfaninMn's picture

October 08, 2019 at 08:41 am

Please excuse my ignorance on tg his one, as I have missed a good portion of the games so far this year. Although I love hearing about the improvements of King and Alexander, as well as the excellent additions of the Smith's. I do have one question. Besides the pick one week one, has anyone seen or heard anything about Adrian Amos? I know its often said if you don't hear a guys name, thats a good thing because it means hes not screwing up. But we paid a lot of money for that guy. What has been the ROI? Maybe I'm missing it. I'm cufious if anyone else has noticed this. Go pack Go!

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Spock's picture

October 08, 2019 at 11:45 am

Amos has been a great addition. He is where he's supposed to be, takes good angles and tackles well. I believe he had a blitz sack in this game when Pettine's defensive alignment confused the Cowboys' OL and he was the one unblocked that got Prescott. He has been a fantastic addition IMHO.

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Qoojo's picture

October 08, 2019 at 11:46 am

As far as illegal contact goes, I've seen worse muggings by Sherman go uncalled. The only thing that might raise an eyebrow is the grab at the helmet, just before WR turns around. The rest was just position and hand jostling.

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