Game Changing Play of the Week: Tyler Lancaster Accounts for Game's Only Turnover, a Big One

Tyler Lancaster's forced fumble and recovery was the turning point for the Packers on Sunday.

What a win last night for the Green Bay Packers in Kansas City. Wins at Arrowhead Stadium don't come easy, no matter who's taking snaps for the team in red; there are plenty of times the Packers have left Arrowhead in my lifetime in defeat in games they should have won. So while Sunday's game did qualify as a game the team "should have won," given the injuries, it's absolutely still not a win you can take for granted given the sheer level of talent on the field for that Kansas City offense.

Turnovers are often prime candidates for my Game Changing Play of the Week, given how abruptly they can shift a game's momentum, and this week's selection is no exception. There was one turnover in the game, and it was caused by Packers rotational defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster. It ended up changing the complexion of the game for the Packers in the second half, when it looked as though all the momentum was with Kansas City.

The play

In many cases, the game changing play of the week is one that invovles an outstanding, mammoth individual effort by a single player. That isn't really the case this time. The play itself is not particularly memorable, but that doesn't make it any less important.

First, consider the context.

The game is tied at 17. The Packers had just come off what had started off as a solid drive to bring them down within goal-to-go range, but a couple mistakes, including a massive sack of Aaron Rodgers, took away the team's chance for a go-ahead touchdown and forced them to settle for the tying field goal. While the field goal did end a 17-0 Chiefs scoring spree, the way the drive ended energized the Chiefs' fans and seemed to keep the momentum on their side.

The second quarter had also seen the Packers look incapable of stopping the Chiefs' offense. Sure, the team forced a Chiefs punt on the first possession of the second half, but giving them the ball back after being forced to settle for a field goal would have rightfully caused some concern among the Packer fans watching the game. I know I was nervous.

So the Chiefs run with LeSean McCoy, who had a decent first half on the ground. While getting blocked, Lancaster reaches out with his right hand and just barely manages to punch the ball loose. A lucky bounce sent the ball right into Lancaster's hands, securing the turnover.

In his postgame remarks in the locker room, Lancaster, looking gleefully overwhelmed to be the subject of such media attention, had the following to say:

"I mean, a last-ditch effort. I had my gap secure and he cut back into the B gap. I went to throw off and I knew I wouldn't get the tackle, so, you know, you gotta throw any limb you can to get that ball, and lo and behold it came out. I wasn't even sure if I knocked it out until everybody else told me. It was really cool."

A big-time play at a crucial point in the game. 

Honorable mention

I had to give an honorable mention shoutot to Andy Reid's decision to punt the ball on fourth and three with just over five minutes to go. Seriously--you've been moving the ball at will against the Packers' defense for much of the game. The Packers have been showing they're content to rush four and sit in zone, so you're probably not going to face a big blitz. Why not go for it, even if it's in your own territory?

The Chiefs did manage to convert well on the punt, downing the Packers at their own two (aided, in part, by a questionable-at-best decision by Darrius Shepherd not to field the ball), but it felt like a gutless decision that ended up having a big influence on the outcome of the game.

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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 (11)

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IDriveALambeau's picture

October 28, 2019 at 04:23 pm

I prefer Shepard stick to his commitment on not fielding the punt, rather than make a half ass attempt and muff it. Great ff and recovery by Lancaster.

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Lare's picture

October 28, 2019 at 04:48 pm

Lancaster's play was just plain luck. He threw his arm out there as McCoy ran by and happened to hit the ball, which after bouncing forwards was knocked backwards right to him.

As to Shepard, he was bailed out by the offense & Jones for his poor decision-making. The Packers really need better kick & punt returners

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4thand1's picture

October 28, 2019 at 06:47 pm

McCoy is a fumbler. He just swung his arm and got the ball. The bounce was lucky.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

October 29, 2019 at 05:49 am

Hmmm... That doesn't sound like you Lare... Lancaster did what D-linemen are taught to do against any RB especially those with a HISTORY of fumbling. The man held his gap, did his job, and took a poke at the ball.

Good things happen to those who do their job! Thanks for doing your job Mr. Lancaster!

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dobber's picture

October 29, 2019 at 10:19 am

"Lancaster's play was just plain luck."

Good teams just seem to get luckier than bad ones...

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Qoojo's picture

October 28, 2019 at 05:32 pm

Good play by Lancaster. Embarrassing celebration. I hope the packers get some clarification on whether players on the bench can run on the field to the end zone and participate in celebrations instead of finding out the hard way in a game, because announcers seemed to think it was a penalty.

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4thdown's picture

October 28, 2019 at 07:06 pm

I agree with the celebration point. Its tough to watch a D thats getting run over and around for the most part then missing alot of tackles make one play and half the sidelines run on the field for that silly D train thing. I have no problem with being happy about the turnover and jumping around with the guy that made the play but geeezzz, Act like you have been there guys!

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

October 28, 2019 at 07:45 pm

Agreed!

Have fun but wish the league would penalize for these childish behaviors. Hard to see grown men weighing 300 lbs flopping on the ground acting like 5 year olds. Just knock the snot out of your opponent and take enjoyment from that coupled with a win. :)

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19kurt's picture

October 29, 2019 at 02:11 pm

Question: on K.C. touchdown to Kelce... He jumped through the edge of the end zone without touching it (he landed out of bounds) It was evidently a TD .(the ball did cross the goal line.. but a pass to a receiver pushed out of bounds also crosses ) ..but seems it almost could have been called a touch back (like the QB fumble with Oakland)

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Daren726's picture

October 30, 2019 at 06:51 am

Kelce had clear possession, and the ball crossed the plane. That’s all it takes.

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19kurt's picture

October 30, 2019 at 09:24 pm

so can a receiver at the back of the endzone who is pushed out of bonds before he can touch down ...seems somewhat similar. Kelce never touched the end zone either

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