Game Changing Play of the Week: Kevin King's Unthinkable Error Changes Complexion of Entire Game

The worst play of Kevin King's career came at an awful time.

There are many plays the Packers want to have back after yesterday's stunning performance, that's for sure.

One could argue that the two consecutive three and outs in the fourth quarter after incerceptions are what lost the Packers the game. And I would probably agree with that.

But if I were to choose a single play that changed the game more than any other (the point of this weekly feature), I would choose the unthinkably awful play from Kevin King right before the first half, giving up a touchdown that allowed the Bucs to take a 21-10 lead moments after it looked like the Packers were going to have a chance at a double up.

The play

There's a lot to say about this play.

First, if you're Mike Pettine, how is THIS the one time you don't call a prevent defense? This is simple situational football. Eight seconds to go in the half, they're lining up on offense. There are two possibilities: they're trying to bite off more yards for a field goal, or they're going to the endzone. 

This means you need deep safety help, but also need to be prepared for what's coming underneath. 

It's a horrible defensive call given the circumstances and this, along with many other things, should be what seals Mike Pettine's fate this offseason.

And then there's King.

Who knows what King was thinking on this play, but if you let your man get behind you in this situation, just tackle him and take the interference that forces the field goal attempt. This is the absolute worst case scenario in this situation.

King's effort after the receiver got past him was pitiful. Just pitiful.

If there was any remaining possibility the Packers would attempt to work out a deal with King this offseason (the odds were already very low), that chance evaporated with this play. This play is Kevin King's legacy in Green Bay. Some high highs, some very low lows, a lot of inconsistency and frustration. 

If this play doesn't happen and the Bucs don't score, it's an entirely different game in the second half. Matt LaFleur might not have panicked and gotten away from the run. The defense would have had more margin for error. Even if they just allow a field goal, it's a pretty significant difference. 

But this play changed everything. And it basically sums up exactly how the day went for Green Bay on Sunday.

__________________________

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.

5 points

Comments (58)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
nostradanus's picture

January 25, 2021 at 04:11 pm

Kevin King = Brandon Bostic
Kevin King = Brandon Bostic
Kevin King = Brandon Bostic

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KenEllis's picture

January 25, 2021 at 04:26 pm

Kevin King > TJ Watt.
Kevin King > TJ Watt.
Kevin King > TJ Watt.

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wimiller's picture

January 25, 2021 at 04:44 pm

no worse than bostic who made ONLY ONE killer screw up: King had at least three. Two TDs and an unneeded hold.

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Coldworld's picture

January 26, 2021 at 07:59 am

For that to be true he would have to have done exactly the opposite of what he had been coached to do. Here Pettine set him up to fail. The responsibility of a coach is to give your players a chance. Perhaps the worst call of the game, even season.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 26, 2021 at 09:38 am

The call received the Tony Dungy seal of Disapproval.

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kozmo's picture

January 25, 2021 at 04:14 pm

Ok so this is my first post here. Ive been a lurker for a couple of years and appreciate the site and the work that Aaron does,s

So heres my thought on this subject. It was rediculous. Im sure that Kevin King is a great kid who has worked harder than most mortal man wold ever understand to achieve his dream. I hope that he has a great career, I do....just not in Green Bay

A dropped 2 pointer in the end zone, a dropped pass by Adams in the end zone for a TD and instead we get a FG. And this horrid play. You simply cannot allow a wide out to get deeper than you....theres no excuse....that in my mind was the big difference in the game

The other difference is just abandoning the run....WHAT THE HELL! Im 64 and running out of time to actually see my Packers win it again....I watched KC last night and a player like HIll on the Packers with Rodgers....wow what would that be like. Go out an get a great receiver to go along with Adams....and by the way great game to MVS

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Lare's picture

January 25, 2021 at 04:15 pm

Kevin King has been mostly a disaster since he came to Green Bay. Ideal size and potential, but mostly a bust due to frequent injury and lack of production.

You don't win big games with guys like Kevin King in your starting lineup.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 25, 2021 at 04:23 pm

The kicker here is zero contribution from Jackson a # two pick inactive for half the season. Cut bait or suffer the consequences. Gutedkunst knew he needed help at CB, but the risk was not covered. I am hoping the next group in 2021 is schooled on situational football--Think !

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TheNumber1PackerFan's picture

January 25, 2021 at 04:17 pm

Yeah Kevin screwed up..BUT.. MLF calling pass plays for SIX drives in a row after Brady gives you two interceptions is what killed this game. Period.

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Coldworld's picture

January 25, 2021 at 06:48 pm

That call was cataclysmic. Should have been deep prevent with 8 seconds. Pettine bears responsibility for leaving King and Alexander isolated and safeties way up by the line. Of course Brady went for King. But King should have been deep with safety help. LaFleur basically calked Pettine for this. King shouldn’t be the demon: that missed the cause of the screw up and us thus pointless.

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NickPerry's picture

January 26, 2021 at 04:56 am

Hmmmm...I sure heard a lot of can, can, can from Rodgers. Were those plays where a run were called and Rodgers switched to a pass?

Not trying to take the blame off MLF, just saying it would be my guess Rodgers had just as big of role. Except of course going for 3 instead of the TD at the end.

UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Since'61's picture

January 26, 2021 at 09:44 am

Nick - we had an empty backfield on many of those plays. We needed to run play action and chip with a TE. Also, IIRC we did not use motion on those plays. We basically did nothing to divert or slow down the pass rush. I’m not sure but I doubt that was on AR, unless AR was calling the plays instead of MLF. Thanks, Since ‘61

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stockholder's picture

January 26, 2021 at 09:51 am

Very True. No play action. The OL failed.

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TarynsEyes's picture

January 25, 2021 at 04:18 pm

The King play didn't lose the game since GB ended up covering that 21 point lead of TB. Yes it was horrendous and put the Packers in an even worse spot than 14-10 at halftime, but the overall failure of the offense to garner more than 6 points off three INTs by Brady was more the death blow, notwithstanding the even more stupid play call of MLF and the failure of Rodgers to run the ball to the end zone, which set up the stupid play call by MLF. However, and returning to King, I would be surprised if he isn't released within the week, but I wouldn't be surprised by anything they don't do.

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Coldworld's picture

January 25, 2021 at 06:50 pm

He’s out of contract. They have no depth. I suspect he will be cheap and it will turn out he’s being playing injured because Pettine won’t play Jackson or Hollman.

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Swisch's picture

January 25, 2021 at 10:10 pm

If Pettine is fired, then it may be worth keeping King on a moderate contract to see if there is some potential there that hasn't been tapped.
The more I think about the King thing in this game in general, the more I wonder how much of the problem may have been that he was put in difficult positions -- especially if he was hindered by injury so much that he should have been substituted for more or less.
It is hard to get out of my mind the two touchdowns allowed behind him, another pass that went over him that was dropped by Evans, and the nightmarish pass interference penalty at the end. There may still be plenty of blame to go to King.
I wonder if with all of these bad memories, it may be good for King to get a fresh start with another team, for his sake and ours.
I do wish him the best in any case.
Ironically -- at least in regard to his apparent reputation -- I seem to remember King making two really fine tackles in this game.
I'm at a loss here, and hope the Packers can sort it all out with intelligence and empathy on behalf of all concerned.

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Since'61's picture

January 26, 2021 at 09:47 am

Coldworld - if in fact King was playing hurt that is all the more reason for Pettine to have called a 3 deep zone or to have given King safety help in that situation. That makes Pettine’s call on defense even worse and justifies chucking him immediately. Thanks, Since ‘61

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flackcatcher's picture

January 26, 2021 at 12:03 pm

I was screaming at the TV calling for a time out. Tampa's tempo froze Green Bay preventing the Packers from getting changing their sub packages. Still, you can the confusion in the secondary. And with Arians and Brady, confusion is deadly. I don't know what's going on between MLF and Pettine, but MLF is HC on the field, and it was his responsability to stop play to get the defense set. The Tampa score was a coaching failure at every level. Coaching 101 and both Pettine and MLF screwed it up. Call it a team effort.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 26, 2021 at 12:16 pm

I hate to say this, but this is more on Gute as front office guy. Packers drafted Jackson, signed Martin as a street FA along with Holiman, Redman? and Sullivan. Holiman was on IR, Redman shifted to SS, Sullivan was the slot CB. Martin flamed out last year, and Jackson fell into disfavor with either the defensive staff or front office or both and was a healthy scratch late this season. King was the last man standing who knew the system. In his defense, he played well even with injuries in the last half of the season.

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barutanseijin's picture

January 25, 2021 at 04:31 pm

Does King even have the physical tools and football sense to execute properly in this situation? The evidence suggests he doesn’t. I can’t blame the guy for not doing what he is incapable of doing.

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Coldworld's picture

January 26, 2021 at 08:01 am

Not at the moment, but we’ve seen he is struggling physically for a while. I have to think it’s injury related, but it’s real.

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Wilment's picture

January 25, 2021 at 04:59 pm

Yeah, KK Is inconsistent, forever hurt, but some of this falls in Mike Pettines lap. What exactly was he thinking with eight seconds on the clock and Tom Brady on the other end of the ball?? He set the defense up to fail. Im not backing King, he got caught twice yesterday with his eyes in the backfield and got scorched for two scorers, but on at least that one play at a crucial time, Pettine was caught with his britches down. Time to move on. Lets not have another Dom Capers situation.

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dobber's picture

January 25, 2021 at 05:07 pm

Yes, King gave up the TD, but they don't even give up a FG if Redmond makes the pick on the previous play rather than inexplicably letting it drop -- they go to the locker room 14-10. All the play calls, the momentum going into halftime, everything is different going forward. And they go to the locker room having made a significant positive play rather than going in giving up a soul crushing TD. Maybe they get beat worse, who knows. But it was Redmond's gaffe let that play happen.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 25, 2021 at 06:06 pm

Redmond is a scrub. He's a backup.... King was supposed to be good.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 25, 2021 at 06:29 pm

Right in his hands, halftime. (sigh)

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Coldworld's picture

January 25, 2021 at 06:57 pm

Interceptions are often dropped. There’s a reason these guys aren’t receivers. King is so slow and immobile. If he’s not injured I don’t know what has happened to him. Both were symptoms. In the first half the entire D was a sieve 2 and 3 man rushes while Brady stood immobile. This starts and stops with Pettine on the macro level as much as the particular call on the half ending TD.

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flackcatcher's picture

January 26, 2021 at 12:28 pm

Come on CW, you have been pushing for Pettine's firing all season. Any reasons good for you. dobber right, we're not all screaming if Redman catches Brady's popup. So many chances to win this game...

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Packerfansupreme's picture

January 26, 2021 at 06:26 am

So true that trade out of the first in the 17 draft will haunt us for awhile now

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TheBigCheeze's picture

January 25, 2021 at 05:35 pm

King, Pettine and Menenga need to go....

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SterlingSharpe's picture

January 25, 2021 at 05:47 pm

100% agree. No matter who our specials teams coach is, seems like we suck at it.

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BartySmith76's picture

January 25, 2021 at 06:57 pm

Going into this year, I expected our secondary to be a strength. As good as #23 has been - he’s probably one of the best in the league, he essentially stays on the left side of the field. Meanwhile, Sullivan and King have been a real liability. Almost all year the middle of the field has been wide open for opposing offenses. It’s particularly frustrating as it seems we have spent years, 2020 not withstanding, drafting for the secondary.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 25, 2021 at 08:47 pm

They will be replaced.

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Demon's picture

January 25, 2021 at 10:04 pm

M McCarthy wasnt known for hiring quality asst coaches. Is it a surprise that Pettine is another Slocum, Zook, or Capers class coach? I would be mildly surprised if Pettine makes it until the end of the week without getting fired.

At the end of last season MLF didnt exactly give Pettine a ringing endorsement. Last nights interview with MLF he stated that defense at the end of the half was inexcusable.

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Ernesto's picture

January 25, 2021 at 08:18 pm

lefleur got the job because he agreed to keep Pettine. Pettine was cheap and familiar with Capers d? i wonder 8f they blame him or just blame king. pack dont like firings looks like they made a mistake

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Coldworld's picture

January 26, 2021 at 08:07 am

Pettine is interesting. I’ve come to believe that it’s not actually his system but that he is hugely inept tactically. He simply doesn’t seem to be able to read teams and games and give his players a chance. He makes his scheme and roster worse most of the time unless forced to let them play.

For that reason, I see him as always likely to make games at best close. In this game I think he was the main reason we fell into the hole. The defensive performance in the second half was despite him, and actually impressive, but forced by the circumstances.

For that reason we don’t get better with him. For that reason he should be gone.

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Razer's picture

January 26, 2021 at 08:54 am

I think this is spot on. To me, Pettine appears overwhelmed on the sideline. Although, our defense did play better in the second half. Unfortunately, too little too late.

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Ernesto's picture

January 25, 2021 at 08:04 pm

the game for me was over when king gave up the first easy td. Yes early in game, gb hadnt even had the ball yet but I knew then my suspicions were proven.
The bucs were going to live off our lack of pass d. They had no respect for it based on the previous rout and running was a smoke screen to set up the pass.
They went in knowing what to expect. the fact they got the td at the end of the half was because they be beleived they could exploit us.

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PhantomII's picture

January 25, 2021 at 10:36 pm

Big drop off in ability from CB1 to CB2. CB's these days should run in the 4.3's.

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Coldworld's picture

January 26, 2021 at 08:08 am

Theoretically King is fast. Not this season.

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Razer's picture

January 26, 2021 at 09:07 am

I wince when I see King windmilling his arms trying to get to the play. A CB needs to have quickness and agility. unfortunately, King has neither.

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RedMN's picture

January 26, 2021 at 05:44 am

The biggest issue on those series after the 2 bucs turnovers was protection not that they didn't run imo. Rodgers kept running the play clock nearly to zero then had to rush his cadence. Defense picked up on this and started jumping the snap. Barrett was behind Wagner on one by the time he got off his stance. Thats a big part of what killed them. Wagner and Turner were overmatched already. Now you give them a tell that the snap is imminent.

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Packerfansupreme's picture

January 26, 2021 at 06:22 am

Ii think it says a lot when king continually makes mistakes and yet plays the entire game. Sullivan got exposed too. Outside of Jaire our cb depth is weak

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Coldworld's picture

January 26, 2021 at 08:09 am

Non existent

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Packerfansupreme's picture

January 26, 2021 at 06:29 am

Where was Tramon Williams?

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Razer's picture

January 26, 2021 at 08:27 am

Pettine forgot that they signed him :o(

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Rudedawg67's picture

January 26, 2021 at 06:37 am

That was one of the stupidest plays in Packer defensive history along with the 4th and 26. Remember it also would have been a different game if the refs had call PI instead of letting the interception a few plays earlier go. 1st and 10 at the 50 and getting the ball first in the 2nd half up 3 or down just one is a big difference. Clearly Lazard was grabbed a hold of but the refs didn't call it and Lazard didn't make a fuss about it like Tampa did when King was called. I think that had something to do with the none call. Sometimes actors get rewarded.

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fastmoving's picture

January 26, 2021 at 07:43 am

......or fucked up TV show looosers who are even to dumb to be an actor.

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fastmoving's picture

January 26, 2021 at 07:41 am

Yeah, King played not good at all. But why do people need a scapegoat to blame eyerything on??? Dont get it and its pretty dumb. He made mistakes like everybody else. Football is THE teamsport. We could have won anyway.
Brady throws 3 INTs, AR did not see open people and did not run the TD in, as he should. Not the best decision making. There are coaches who had there share, refs, whoever.
Pretty weak to put it on just one guy and even dumber when its 2-3 plays. So there would be a lot of plays left to making up for.

But if you feel better just keep blame it all on King. Its wrong, weak and senseless. But same people just wont to face the truth even she smacks them it to the face.

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Razer's picture

January 26, 2021 at 08:19 am

Thank you - well said.

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Bitternotsour's picture

January 26, 2021 at 09:26 pm

if coach dude bro doesn't morph into Mike Sherman the packers at least can go into the locker room with their heads up. how is it that mr. all gas/ no brakes has his testicles suck up into his abdomen when the game is on the line. oh well. andy reed would have eaten his lunch anyway.

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Booner's picture

January 26, 2021 at 07:53 am

Ass Clown Pettine and his boy's King and Sullivan are not NFL quality starting DB's!!!!! Packers need to do better in the draft! Summers shouldn't even be on the practice squad! The middle of our defense is an F---ing joke! Gute and Murphy need to pull their heads out of ass or we should send them packing! Jordon Love are you freaking kidding me! Would not blame Rodgers one bit if he moved on from these two moron's!

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Booner's picture

January 26, 2021 at 07:53 am

Ass Clown Pettine and his boy's King and Sullivan are not NFL quality starting DB's!!!!! Packers need to do better in the draft! Summers shouldn't even be on the practice squad! The middle of our defense is an F---ing joke! Gute and Murphy need to pull their heads out of ass or we should send them packing! Jordon Love are you freaking kidding me! Would not blame Rodgers one bit if he moved on from these two moron's!

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Razer's picture

January 26, 2021 at 08:10 am

Ripping on Kevin King might make some of us feel better but it misses the bigger issue. The Packers have a lot of marginal or tier two players, King included. They are role players and short term depth who need to be put in situations where they can be effective. That is what good coaches do. Our DC is awful at putting his players in the right situations. King was in over his head and was being exploited by a great QB and opposing OC.

King was a top draft pick and we expect him to be a stud. Reality is that he was just part of a series of bad CB/secondary picks by the TT and his scouting staff. Randall, Rollins, Josh Jackson, Josh Jones and King were the rebuild of the Packers secondary. I boil it down to weakest link with poor instructions. Unfortunate on many fronts.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 26, 2021 at 09:47 am

King is a four year veteran, give me a break with the excuses, man up.

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4thand1's picture

January 26, 2021 at 09:54 am

So wtf does this mean now, do the Packers draft a CB with the 1st pick again? WTF WTF WTF. Petitine and King need to go, accountability dictates it.

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jlc1's picture

January 26, 2021 at 10:52 am

I could also go with the Redmond drop two plays before. It was not even contested and he dropped it. He keeps it both Pettine and King don't get to be the topic here.

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Cermit's picture

April 15, 2021 at 12:41 pm

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