Game Changing Play of the Week: Turnovers Once Again the Difference as Packers Advance to 8-2

A fumble and an interception by Panthers QB Kyle Allen were the two difference-makers in the game.

There are no plays that have a greater potentail of changing the complexion of a game than turnovers, and their importance loomed large over Sunday's contest between the Green Bay Packers and the Carolina Panthers. Without a fumble and interception committed by impressive Panthers second-year quarterback Kyle Allen, the endgame may have looked very different while the snowflakes fell at Lambeau Field.

Let's take a quick look at each of these two turnovers and their impact on the game.

The fumble

At the start of the second quarter, the momentum was all with the Panthers. They drove down the field for a couple scores already, and appeared to have the Packers' defense on their heels. With the score at 10-7, the Panthers were on the Packers' side of the field, and were moving the ball steadily with an opportunity to go up by two scores on the road. 

The mishandled snap by Allen, then, was a huge game changer. Rather than face the prospect of giving up another score to Carolina, the Packers got their defense off the field, and got the ball in great field position. A gorgeous throw and catch from Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams and a couple Aaron Jones runs later, and the Packers had a lead that they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.

Obviously, there was stlil plenty of game left at the time of the fumble, so if you take it away and the Panthers go down the field and score a touchdown, it's far from over for the Packers. But the shift in momentum was huge, and the Packers going right down the field and getting a touchdown allowed them to stick to the game plan and avoid having to play down a couple scores. 

The interception

This one was a backbreaker for Carolina. They manage to drive deep into Packer territory while down by two scores, which they absolutely needed to do coming out of halftime. The Packers allowed them to get all the way down to the 11 yard line, and then the interception happened.

Some good interior pressure by Dean Lowry with Za'Darius Smith setting the edge caused Allen to have to step up into the pocket, but once he did, he had plenty of time and space to make a decision. Instead, feeling the heat, he threw on the run, and it appears he simply didn't see safety Adrian Amos lurking in the endzone near his intended target.

Amos probably should have made the interception himself, but fortunately Tramon Williams was right behind him in coverage to cradle the ball. Interceptions in the endzone are always killers, and this one was especially so, given the opportunity it presented to Carolina to come within a score with so much time left in the game.

The Panthers did end up having one more touchdown drive, but if they come away with even a field goal here, the entire end of the game takes on a very different look. Of several crucial plays made in this game, this is perhaps the one that changed the game the most. 

 

The Packers have been playing a whole lot of "bend but don't break" defense of late, and it can be qutie stressful to watch. But they sure do know how to time their big plays, and these turnovers, combind with a few crucial sacks, were massive difference makers in a game against a good team going into the bye week. 

For once, the Packers enter the bye about as healthy as you could ask for at this point of the season. They can spend some time relaxing and refocusing on what it will take to take down the league's final undefeated team when they return to the field in two weeks.

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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 (29)

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Leatherhead's picture

November 11, 2019 at 05:50 pm

Years ago....around 2002 or so...….there was an article that pointed out very clearly the effect of turnovers on a football game.

If you have one turnover, it doesn't seem to affect your winning percentage that much......probably because you get a takeaway to balance it out on average. But when you turn the ball over twice in one game, your chances of winning decline to 40%, and the third turnover drops you down to about 25%. Four or more turnovers and you lose 90%+ of the time.

The Packers are blessed with a quarterback who is the best, all time, at protecting the ball. He's in the backfield with two guys, Jones and Williams, who rarely cough it up. So this is a team that doesn't have multiple turnover games very often, and shouldn't. We're third in turnover differential right now. I like the way this offense protects the ball, and I like that Rodgers is still reasonably healthy at this point in the season.....I didn't think it would happen but I'm happy it has. I like the fact that we're leaning on Williams and Jones to move the ball down the field instead of throwing it 40 times.

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canadapacker's picture

November 11, 2019 at 05:32 pm

There were other game changing plays. Some negative some positive. The horrible pre-snap penalty by Graham on the opening drive could have really hurt the Pack. 2nd and 1 and it ends up being a 3 and out. Vets need to be better on that. Aikman et al were talking about the bad roughing the passer. I thought that the call was ok - he did try and plant Rogers even if he did slide off of him a bit. It was a better call then some of the tacky touching the helmet or barely touching the QB below the knees. But that call allowed the Pack go down the field. Graham should know better to keep both feet on the ground on his endzone catch. Again a Vet should know better. There was bad calls both ways and the offensive pass interference has gotten out of control - What is a push and what is just hand checking with the defensive guy losing his footing. One final thing - tired of hearing all the good stuff about Martinez. Even on the game winning play he is great because he called the pre-snap movement - but where was he on the play - 1 yard into the endzone. He is playing just like AJ Hawk - a lot of tackles downfield after 10 yards. I am not sure how they can use him better if he needs to be on the team as the defensive QB - but they need to reduce his liability when he is on the field.

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Leatherhead's picture

November 11, 2019 at 05:45 pm

I'm sorry you're tired about hearing all the good stuff about Martinez, so I'll keep this brief.

In less than 6 months, Blake Martinez is going to sign a multizillion $$ contract. Numerous front offices around the league would love to get him because they know how good he is and what value he brings.

If you want to disagree with them, go ahead. They're the guys who make their living at this, not me. The only question is whether we're going to keep him here. I think the answer should clearly be yes.

We need more good young football players, not less. Keep Martinez and use the draft pick to strengthen the team instead of just filling the hole if Martinez leaves.

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canadapacker's picture

November 11, 2019 at 06:28 pm

I disagree - if he does come back it will be at the Packer's price and not on the average free market price. I dont know where you are getting your information but he has shown his warts this season and in this NFL he has neither the speed to cover nor the tackling for a loss type of mentality. He makes a lot of late tackles but he misses a bunch as well. So I disagree 100% and we need to draft or free agent a real middle linebacker. The good stuff that you read is only from a few writers on this site and some of them are not realistic and the general sports writers point out that he is a weak point on this defense,

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sam1's picture

November 11, 2019 at 06:52 pm

I disagree with you. Martinez plays hard and tell us genius who will make the tackles he does make? Easy to complain about but where is your solution? And who says your opinion is better than those opinions of others or some writers! maybe the other so called writers are wrong. Why is it every announcer refers to Martinez as a tackling machine, because he is!

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canadapacker's picture

November 11, 2019 at 07:31 pm

I didnt insult you or anyone on this site but if you are tackling people after they make first downs who cares? There are many writers who agree with me.
Jack Wepfner ""If Martinez continues to play like he did Sunday, not only will he not receive a contract commensurate with the salary band of his inside linebacking peers, but he might also be looking for work outside of Green Bay.""
Bob McGinn, : “(Martinez) gets people down, but not where a good defense needs them down…In coverage, his play is equally ineffectual. He drifts, he’s a limited athlete and he’s slow. Maybe the coaches think command of the defense makes him untouchable.

Jim Weidner- ""Being considered dependable and a field general are two very strong attributes for an NFL inside linebacker. But there is one attribute, and attribute that trumps all-others, that an inside linebacker must possess. That being the ability to make game-changing plays, something Hawk didn’t have, and now Martinez is lacking --While at best adequate, starting inside linebacker Blake Martinez isn’t making the types of plays that the Packers defense is in need of.""

I am not the only one fan who thinks that we need help either in scheme or another body here might develop quickly - Goodson, Burks and rookie Ty Summers .

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sam1's picture

November 11, 2019 at 08:05 pm

McGinn is a joke and an anti Packer writer ever since they cut him loose! Not much to quote there I tell you! And yes you did insult some people!

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Tundraboy's picture

November 11, 2019 at 09:00 pm

Yes, it does beat no tackles. We have enough of a problem with that as it is.

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stockholder's picture

November 11, 2019 at 07:17 pm

1. No free Agent will be better then Martinez. 2. The packers are projected to pick around 30. 3. It would be better to sign Clark and draft a DT. But I believe Gute will draft a ILB this year. Top 5! 1 Dylan Moses - ALABAMA
2 Kenneth Murray - OKLAHOMA
3 Troy Dye - OREGON
4 Malik Harrison - OHIO STATE
5 Jacob Phillips - LSU1

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dobber's picture

November 11, 2019 at 07:22 pm

"- if he does come back it will be at the Packer's price and not on the average free market price."

I'd like to think this is true of the Packers with any of their FAs...but if those two numbers converge, it tells you what the Packers brass and coaching staff thinks of that player.

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Leatherhead's picture

November 12, 2019 at 09:41 am

You aren’t disagreeing with me; you’re disagreeing with the people who make millions for making decisions about football players.

Martinez is going to make $10 million a year. That’s what he’s worth.

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egbertsouse's picture

November 11, 2019 at 06:41 pm

Yeah, there will be some crap GM who will look solely at the stat line and overpay Martinez. I hope Guter won’t be one of them.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 12, 2019 at 03:59 am

I think you're way ahead of yourself. You are appealing to the action of an authority figure which has yet to occur. I don't expect to have to disagree with the action of this hypothetical GM since I don't expect it to happen.

It looks to me like Martinez has played himself out of the "zillions" territory and into the handful of millions/per year area.

OTC still has him valued at $11.05M AAV. I am thinking just over half of that. Martinez is graded below average by PFF with roughly the same grade as Allison, Redmond, and Gary. In fact, only Montravius Adams and Rashaan Gary have lower grades than Martinez on defense, and Gary is just a tiny bit lower.

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Leatherhead's picture

November 12, 2019 at 08:00 pm

He’s 25, smart and experienced. Proven durability. PFF grades are only part of the bigger picture and he’s going to attract offers in line with his AAV. I think he brings quite a bit to the table, in fact, and I bet that a lot of GMs agree.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 12, 2019 at 09:02 pm

You may turn out to be correct. I myself had Martinez figured at $9.03M earlier this season. My number just keeps going down the more I watch him play.

It reminds me of the Lowry situation. I like the idea of giving second contracts to the team's core guys going forward. Was Lowry a "core guy?" He's been described as "quietly pretty good" according to the authors. I had him more in the $5M AAV area. IDK. Paying money to these guys knowing that they aren't quite what the team wants or needs is problematic.

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dobber's picture

November 11, 2019 at 07:18 pm

When you watch that INT by TWill in the endzone, it appears that WR had a chance to snap it up before it hit the ground. Imagine the swing in the game if the WR gets to that deflected ball...

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stockholder's picture

November 11, 2019 at 07:28 pm

Great Int. What happened to Nick Perry?

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edp1959's picture

November 11, 2019 at 07:53 pm

Watching SF vs Seattle. SF is dominating early with rushing and slants over the middle. Right at the weakness of GB defense.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 11, 2019 at 08:56 pm

If we could just shut down the run. For one game in SF.

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Pierre's picture

November 11, 2019 at 07:55 pm

Rodgers should have been able to keep the Packer drive going in the fourth and not punted to let the Defense have to stop the Panther offense. Kyle Allen drives the whole field from the the 11 yard line and gets within inches of tying the game.

With the running game getting 163 yards, Rodgers has to be a lot more efficient than 17-29 passing with play action. When a defense has to play the run that middle of the field needs to be exploited by the Packers passing game. Anyone watching can see that Kyle Allen, a first year QB, was a lot more efficient leading sustained drives passing than Rodgers, an elite veteran QB.

Hard to explain how Rodgers did not win that game by completing a first down at the Panthers 40. Then at 4th and three Rodgers is out there just trying to draw the Panthers offsides as the only way to get a much needed first down? Say it ain’t so Matt! You have a veteran QB getting paid 2 mil per game and he can’t be trusted to roll out and complete a 3 yard pass to get a first down that seals the game? That doesn’t bode well when it comes to playoff football Matt. Great to be 8-2 but I recall a year when the Packers went 15-1 and got knocked out by the Giants at home in the first round. Rodgers needs to convert TDs and pass downfield a lot more accurately for this team to compete deep into the playoffs.

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Since'61's picture

November 12, 2019 at 09:11 am

Yes the Packers should a TD on every drive or maybe even every play. After all it's not like there is another team on the field trying to stop them. Or that the Packers played it smart by punting on the 4th down you mention in a snowstorm during treacherous footing conditions.

Oh and Rodgers who based upon his career QB rating is already the most efficient QB in NFL should be more efficient. I guess protecting the lead, not making mistakes with the football, using his RBs and putting up 24 points is not good enough for you. Maybe a TD on every drive or better yet every play would be efficient enough. As the playoffs, let's wait until we get there before we decide that the Packers can't win in the playoffs. Finally, how is it Rodgers fault that the Panthers drive the field against the Packers defense. Which if the officials were doing their jobs would not have happened because there were at least 3 penalties on that drive that should have been called against the Panthers before the drama inside the Packer's 5 at the end.

All of your posts are negative about either Rodgers, MLF or the Packers. You should save them for your Vikings site or maybe go trolling on the Bears and Lions sites. Thanks, Since '61

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ILPackerBacker's picture

November 12, 2019 at 12:06 pm

As if that isn't bad enough Rodgers totally wiffed on his kick off return block

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Cpotthoff's picture

November 12, 2019 at 10:51 pm

Seriously we are 8-2 in a season where people wee already complaining after the first frickin game. Am I missing something. Did we win on Sunday? What other team has has a new coach, major players oyt for most of the first half and still 8-2? Yeah we have flaws but sure beats where we were at last year..

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dobber's picture

November 11, 2019 at 08:59 pm

On another note: Packers bringing in beefy DTs for workouts.

https://www.profootballrumors.com/2019/11/nfl-workout-updates-111119

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mrtundra's picture

November 12, 2019 at 08:20 am

The Packers need to find a durable back up for Kenny Clark. I hope these three guys pan out and that Gute gets to pick one, or two, of them.

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ILPackerBacker's picture

November 12, 2019 at 12:05 pm

yes
should have been done weeks ago, more accurately when Daniels was dumped
scary mistakes and bad front office/coaching projects on Lowry/adams

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splitpea1's picture

November 12, 2019 at 12:17 pm

Between the three of them, almost a thousand pounds worth!

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ILPackerBacker's picture

November 12, 2019 at 12:04 pm

Amazing how little clue some people have.

Most teams don't have the LUXURY of paying for performance.
The packers do because no owners are sucking away money for idiot relatives (look at the bear's)

Blake will be signed for a lot of money so it can be MARKETED. IMPROVEMENT! HERO INCOMING! LEAGUE LEADING TACKLER!

It will sell tickets. It will let a bad GM and a bad Coach try and keep their jobs.

IT has little to do with building a team.

I seriously doubt a contending team goes for Blake. There is no role, literally nothing he can bring a team that is close

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Leatherhead's picture

November 12, 2019 at 04:06 pm

Amazing that some people think they know more than NFL professionals.

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