Another week, another questionable roughing the passer call on Clay Matthews

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Last week, the big story in the NFL was the costly roughing the passer penalty assessed on Packers linebacker Clay Matthews. This week, that’s going to be one of the big stories again.

In the third quarter of today’s game, Matthews sacked Washington quarterback Alex Smith, and the officials immediately threw a flag, calling him for roughing the passer. The officials didn’t explain exactly what Matthews did that deserved a penalty, but it appeared they were saying Matthews landed on Smith with his bodyweight.

But all Matthews did was tackle Smith. If that’s roughing the passer, it’s hard to see how any defensive player can ever sack a quarterback. Former NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino said on the FOX broadcast that he did not agree with the call.

“I don’t like that as a foul. I really don’t,” Blandino said.

If the call was correct from the perspective of the league office, the NFL needs to say so. Head of officiating Al Riveron has conspicuously avoided weighing in on roughing the passer calls, but everyone — players, coaches, officials, media and fans — needs to know what the rules are. At the moment, it doesn’t even appear that the officials are in agreement about what the rules are.

43 responses to “Another week, another questionable roughing the passer call on Clay Matthews

  1. Just come out and say you can’t sack the QB anymore. These hits should not be penalized. Did you see how he turned to the Ref to see if a flag had been thrown as soon as he made the sack? That’s what the games coming to. Passing play, check the refs make sure whatever happened was ok, catch or penalty. Sack? Check the refs make sure whatever happened was ok. It’s not watchable, enjoyable, or football.

  2. This is the Sunday I decide to pack it up and quit watching football. Between the terrible calls against the Packers and the Vikings STINKING UP US Bank Stadium. I’m done. AAF and NHL in my future. I hate the NFL.

  3. I don’t care who you are or what team you are a fan of…. this is ruining football. It’s gone from zero to 100 on this penalty.

    It’s embarrassing for the NFL to support this.

  4. Apparently Al Riveron called the booth and told them the reason was because Matthews landed on Alex Smith with his body weight.

    1. How did Riveron “know” that was truly the reason so fast except trying to put out the fire? What if the ref thought it was helmet to the head? The ref never explained it over the mic and I doubt he went over to the phone to call Riveron to explain.

    2. NFL should REALLY just put flags on QBs now. That was a normal tackle. How the heck do you NOT put your body weight on anyone when tackling. There’s just no way to touch a QB anymore.

  5. amaf21 says:
    September 23, 2018 at 3:40 pm
    Suspend him then maybe he’ll get the message.


    Really? The only illegal hit was the first game against the Bears. The two subsequent hits were legal. Only the refs and NFL thought it was a flag.

  6. The NFL has declared war on the Packers for making them look bad. It’s not just the calls on Matthews, I’m not a ref hater or youthful cry baby…the league has declared full scale war on ’em

  7. What else are you supposed to do honestly?? It’s getting absolutely ridiculous. The league has to do something about this. 2 weeks in a row, this guy made a text book play, the way football is taught.

  8. aarons444 says:
    September 23, 2018 at 3:45 pm
    Suspend him then maybe he’ll get the message.
    Fines normally come before suspension, as you likely know, Matthews was jot fined for last weeks completely legal hit.

    The aaddest part was the make up holding call on the next play…. the fresh set of downs dod plenty of damage.

  9. I’d be in favor of putting a flag on each side of the QB’s waist so defenders can pull a flag instead of getting a flag for playing real football. That might result in more consistent officiating, which would be an improvement over the BS we’re forced to watch now.

  10. I have no problem with the call if you call the earlier play where the defender spun Rodgers threw him down and landed on him. Where was the call there?

  11. If packets didn’t constantly Kepple whining every time Rodgers got hit ,it wouldn’t have come to this. You can thank yourselves and fragile Rodgers for today’s flag football. Qbs have been getting babied and helped with free yards and free first downs since 2000. And that’s why Montana will always be the greatest of all time. He never got coddled and helped out with free first downs for getting sacked. Brady and Rodgers would not survive in Montanas era of real football where qbs can get hit with the meanest nastiest hits ever and refs will not help you keep drives alive. 4-0 no superbowl interceptions in the toughest era of all time. Montana is the greatest ever. Brady is #2 even though he played in the softest era where qbs can’t be touched and helps him keep drives alive because he was touched. True football fans going way back no Montana is the best. Today era is a joke that’s made to help the qb and Punish the defense for being too good. Today’s young fans have no clue what real football is and overrate today’s qbs thanks to the referees consistent help.

  12. Just make penalties against the QB like kickers/punters. 5 yards running into and 15 yards for roughing. Move on and just play football. How do you tackle without falling on a player. It’s not bump and run!

  13. bannedfromchoirpractice says:
    September 23, 2018 at 4:06 pm
    “I’d be in favor of putting a flag on each side of the QB’s waist so defenders can pull a flag instead of getting a flag for playing real football. That might result in more consistent officiating, which would be an improvement over the BS we’re forced to watch now.”

    It would still be a joke. “Pulling flag with excessive force…10 yard penalty…holding the flag aloft after removing it…taunting…15 yard penalty…contacting the flag with the defender’s helmet…15 yards and ejection”

  14. Every play has every fan of every team looking for a penalty flag. Your team gets a first down, big play or a touchdown? Depending on who your team may be, you immediately see the yellow box light up on the screen. Too many penalties in today’s game. It is disgusting that the NFL and the officials appear to have a desire to decide who wins. They at least make it harder for some teams and easier for others. Depends on which way the wind is blowing on game day.

  15. Notice that in Packer stories like this, the vast majority of fans agree with the obvious, but Viking fans would rather look dim as long as whatever happened hurt the Packers. It’s really sad. If they were smart (they’re not or they wouldn’t be Vikings fans), they’d get behind how awful these bad roughing calls are and help promote the league getting rid of the bad rule.

    For me, I think it’s time to sell all my old football memorabilia while there are still people watching it.

  16. I am not a fan of the way the new rule is written but it is very plainly written in that it states, don’t land most of or all of your body weight on the QB, there have been many sacks this year and only a small number (by comparison) of the roughing calls based on the weight portion.

    I get it, Matthews doesn’t like it, however he is paid to be professional, so he needs to figure it out and stop doing it, just like all the other defenders.

    The media also needs to get a clue, you may not like the rule but stop making it sound like the refs are wrong when the call the rule correctly. Also, if you want to gripe about the rule, you should take some responsibility for your part in it. We hear all the time about how we should feel sorry for the players that are suffering after they stop playing and are out of money, but then the league is getting soft for trying to adjust to not have the players suffer so much after playing. You can’t have it both ways.

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