- Clay Matthews was flagged for roughing the passer on a questionable call for the third straight week.
- Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was livid with the call and could be seen screaming at the referees after the play.
- The penalties stem from new rules implemented by the NFL meant to better protect quarterbacks.
No player has struggled more with the NFL’s new rules intended to protect quarterbacks than Packers linebacker Clay Matthews.
In Green Bay’s first two games of the season, Matthews has been flagged for roughing the passer on plays that many would consider standard tackles, including a critical call last weekend against the Vikings that helped Minnesota steal a tie from the Packers.
This week, it happened once again.
— Mike Cianciolo (@MikeCianciolo) September 23, 2018
Seen here, Matthews is just finishing the play, but according to the new rules, it is still a penalty because Matthews landed “with all or most of the defender’s weight” on the quarterback.
The NFL was quick to defend the decision on Twitter.
This is a foul for roughing the passer – the defender lands “with all or most of the defender’s weight” on the passer. Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9(b): https://t.co/s9YKN8NLuT #GBvsWAS pic.twitter.com/ei2QZkvvzx
— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) September 23, 2018
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was livid and could be seen on the sideline laying into officials about the call.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 23, 2018
On Twitter, the general sentiment seemed to be that McCarthy was right to be mad.
This is roughing the passer, apparently.
Clay Matthews is no longer allowed to sack QBs. pic.twitter.com/Zp09o14gEx
— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) September 23, 2018
Clay Matthews is no longer allowed to sack quarterbacks. It is against the rules.
— Robert Mays (@robertmays) September 23, 2018
Seriously, Clay Matthews is gonna have to start sacking QBs like this. pic.twitter.com/smN79X3Yay
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 23, 2018
How to sack a quarterback in the NFL….wait nvm. pic.twitter.com/EYuOo4qNEq
— Sean McGann (@seanmickeyG14) September 23, 2018
After the game, Matthews was clear about how he felt after getting called for the third straight game for making what he believed was “a football play.”
“Unfortunately this league’s going in a direction I think a lot of people don’t like. I think they’re getting soft,” Matthews said. “The only thing hard about this league is the fines they levy down on guys like me who play the game hard.”
Regardless of his feelings on the call, it’s a new reality of the league as the NFL attempts to do a better job at protecting quarterbacks. Matthews is going to have to make some adjustments soon or be further frustrated by penalties.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.