Winning and losing can often hinge on one big play, especially when that play creates such an emotional swing that it pumps up one team and completely deflates the other. That is what happened Saturday in Kansas City and what resulted in the Turning Point of the Game.
Trailing 16-10, an awful opening drive of the third quarter gave the Chiefs a chance to stick the dagger in the Vikings. With a drive starting on the Minnesota 37, the Chiefs were poised to stuff the ball down the Vikings' throats, but, faced with a fourth-and-1, Dick Vermeil opted to go for a first down. RB Larry Johnson was stood up by a host of Vikings and you could sense momentum changing.
What followed was a textbook drive. Third-string QB Shaun Hill converted a trio of third-down passes and, with the Vikings facing a second-and-3 from the Chiefs 33, they were preparing for the 11th play of the drive.
It was a handoff to Larry Ned, who changed the complexion of the opening preseason loss with a fumble that was returned 97 yards for a Jacksonville touchdown. The offensive line sealed off the play perfectly and Ned burst up the middle for 15 yards. But, as he was getting hit, he left his feet for more yardage. He was hammered in mid-air and fumbled. The Chiefs recovered -- and not only killed the Vikings drive, they grabbed back momentum.
What looked like it could be the go-ahead drive for the Vikings ended up being a scoring drive for the Chiefs, who drove 54 yards and kicked a 46-yard field goal. That made the score 19-10 with 2:27 to play in the third quarter and turned the game into a two-score lead for Kansas City.
It was just one play. But, with the Chiefs offense upset over not converting on their previous fourth down, the Vikings defense pumped up and the Vikings offense on the verge of scoring, the fumble had catastrophic results and created the Turning Point of the Game.
Turning Point: Key Turnover
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