Two weeks, two roughing the passer penalties and Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews became the virtual poster boy for the penalty in the NFL’s latest instructional video for officials.
NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron is packing Matthews’ roughing penalty, questioned by Packers coach Mike McCarthy and almost universally on social media channels Sunday, into a video distributed to league officials this week.
Referee Tony Corrente made the right call, Riveron said, when Matthews was flagged for taking Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins to the ground and landing on him with his weight. A strikingly similar play in the Jaguars-Patriots game ended with Tom Brady on the ground but no yellow flags were tossed.
After the game, Corrente provided his explanation.
“It has nothing to do with the rule of full body weight,” Corrente said. “It has nothing to do with helmet to helmet. He picked the quarterback up and drove him into the ground.”
McCarthy said Monday the penalty that negated an interception was troubling.
“I get what the goal (of player safety) is, and we’re all for the goal being achieved, but at the same time, you have to make sure it’s not a competitive disadvantage to the pass rusher trying to hit the quarterback,” McCarthy said.
Matthews was penalized for a blatant hit on Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in Week 1. He didn’t like the Week 2 call on which he put his shoulder in Cousins’ abdomen as the ball was released.
“I mean, I don’t even know where to start to be completely honest with you,” he said after the game, via the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “There are so many emotions running through (me) as far as what a terrible call it was, but at the same time, I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know, you let me know. Did I put pressure on him? Because I thought I hit him within the waist to chest (area). I got my head across, put my hands down and to call it at that point in the game is unbelievable.
“Last week, ok, shame on me, but this week - that’s unbelievable and the worst part is, we’ll probably send it in and you know what they are going to say - they’ll find fault on me because they are going to agree with the refs. I don’t know. It’s a difficult call to call and you saw how it changed the game and I know there’s an emphasis on protecting quarterbacks but it’s gotten out of control now.”
—Field Level Media