Clay Matthews seems to be the target of what the NFL’s new roughing the passer penalty looks like. Matthews said after the Green Bay Packers’ 31-17 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday that the NFL is going “soft” with their protection of quarterbacks.
Clay Matthews was called for a roughing the passer penalty for the third week in a row. He incurred one roughing the passer penalty against the Chicago Bears in Week 1, a high-profile penalty for the infraction in Week 2, and the latest came against Washington.
The first penalty was for a late hit, but the latter two were for plays that in the past would have been deemed clean. However, the new rules say that you cannot slam a quarterback into the ground and that you cannot lay on them with your body weight. Clay Matthews violated the body weight part of the rule with his hit on Alex Smith.
Clay Matthews on his roughing flag: "Obviously I don't agree wit it again. That's a football play … I think they're getting soft." More from Matthews to come. https://t.co/WnaNiCAevk
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) September 23, 2018
The rule is a terrible one because they are preventing defensive players from being able to do their job effectively. Please tell me how else Clay Matthews should have tackled Smith in a way that would have not allowed the QB room to break the tackle?
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 23, 2018
The rule was applied properly, but most football fans and many players hate it. For evidence of that, look no further than Twitter:
Dear Clay Matthews,
This is how you properly take down a quarterback. pic.twitter.com/29njG4rwC5
— Marcas Grant (@MarcasG) September 23, 2018
Clay Matthews was running directly at Alex Smith, tackled him and landed on him. There was no way not to land on him. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers was spun to the ground and thrown down earlier with no call. There has to be a consistent standard.
— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) September 23, 2018
Clay Matthews = Not allowed to play football.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 23, 2018
— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) September 23, 2018
This is just unfair – to Clay Matthews and all pass rushers!!! QBs today are playing flag football, while it’s tackle for the other 21 guys. When comparing today’s QBs’ stats to those of yesteryear, remember that!!!
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) September 23, 2018
Clay Matthews may have to retire too, cause the poor guy literally can’t do his job without getting flagged 🤦🏾♀️
— Kimberley A. Martin (@ByKimberleyA) September 23, 2018
Just watched the replay of the flagged Clay Matthews hit. My conclusion:
The NFL is accelerating toward extinction, or two-hand touch.
— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) September 23, 2018
The NFL may have to address the rule going forward.