Publish date:

Packers LB Clay Matthews: NFL 'Protecting the QB' Has Gotten Out of Control

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews has been flagged for roughing the passer two weeks in a row. 

Last Monday, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was called for a late roughing the passer penalty against the Bears' Mitchell Trubisky that could've cost Green Bay its 24–23 win.

This week, Matthews was once again called for the same penalty and it negated an interception that likely would've given the Packers a win. Instead the Packers tied the Vikings 29–29 on Sunday.

Cornerback Jaire Alexander picked off a deep throw from Minnesota's Kirk Cousins with Green Bay leading 29–21, but Matthews was called for the hit. Cousins then led a drive that ended with a 22–yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen followed by a two-point conversion to tie the game. 

Matthews talked to reporters following the game and expressed frustration with the call.

SI Recommends

"Last week, OK, shame on me," Matthews said. "This week, that's unbelievable. The worst part is, we'll probably send it in and you know what they're going to say? They'll find fault on me because they're going to agree with the refs. I don't know. It's a difficult call to call.

"You see how it changed the game. I know there's an emphasis on protecting quarterbacks, but it's gotten out of control. I don't know what else to do. It's frustrating because Jaire's interception, that's game [over], right? Instead, they go down and score, overtime, this and that."

Referee Tony Corrente told ESPN that Matthews was penalized for lifting and driving Cousins to the ground.

One of the changes this season is that the NFL prohibits landing on a quarterback with all or most of a player's body weight.

But Corrente said the new rule didn't play a part in that Matthews play.