Clay Matthews is vexed -- like the rest of us -- by perplexing penalty

-- Clay Matthews was on the complete opposite end of the spectrum in terms of game-ending plays this week against the Minnesota Vikings.

And last week, the Green Bay Packers' all-time sack leader was on the side nobody wants to be on.

It took an absolutely unquestioned roughing the passer call on Matthews for a late hit on Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to give the Bears new life and a fresh set of downs. This time around, however, things were a little hazier.

After throwing an interception to Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on his previous drive that resulted in the score disparity growing to eight points, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins took a relatively clean hit from Matthews the second he released the ball deep downfield.

What would've been the first career interception for rookie cornerback Jaire Alexander was actually -- rinse and repeat -- a fresh set of downs for the Vikings.

For the second week in a row, a game came down to pressure put on from Matthews. Except against the Vikings, the result was certainly up for refutation.

"I don't even know where to start, to be completely honest with you," Matthews told Michael Cohen of The Athletic, clearly beside himself. "I have so many emotions running through as far as what a terrible call it was. At the same time, I don't know what else to do. I don't' know. You let me know. you tell me.

"Did I put pressure on him? I thought I hit him within his waist to chest, I got my head across, put my hands down," Matthews said. "To call it at that point in the game is unbelievable."

Referee Tony Corrente justified his stance after the game, saying that officials on the field felt Matthews lifted Cousins enough and drove him into the ground. Corrente stated that the new quarterback rules, which involve landing with the entirety of your body weight on the passer, weren't in play. 

"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. ... It's a difficult call to call. You see how it changed the game."

The play occurred with 1:45 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Packers had already built up a 29-21 lead. At that point, Alexander's interception -- influenced by Matthew's rightful pressure -- would've sealed a 2-0 record for Green Bay.

Instead, it resulted in the Packers' first tie since 2013 when Matt Flynn was the quarterback: a 26-26 tie against the Vikings.

"We had opportunities to win the game, no doubt about it, but frustrating to allow a call which I feel like I did the right thing to influence the game. I don't' know. I'm trying to bite my tongue but I obviously don't agree with it."

In similar fashion, Vikings linebacker was called for a roughing the passer penalty on Rodgers on the Packers' final drive to end the first half. It was a call that former Vice President of Officiating Mike Pereira later said should've never happened, due to the fact Kendricks didn't land on top of Rodgers with his body weight.

The penalty gave the Packers an extra 15 yards to position the ball in Vikings territory, and after four plays, Mason Crosby would connect with his first of what would accumulate to be five field goals on the afternoon.

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (60)

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sonomaca's picture

September 16, 2018 at 08:53 pm

Clay basically placed him gently on the ground like a little baby.

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LayingTheLawe's picture

September 16, 2018 at 08:57 pm

I tackle my dog harder than that.

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4thand1's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:27 pm

Careful, someone will call the animal protection agency on you.

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GBPDAN1's picture

September 16, 2018 at 10:37 pm

That was truly one of the worst officiating games i've seen in a while. And Im also so turned off with were the game is heading.

It's unhealthy to watch such incompetent officiating and having the frustration and anger wreck the day. I think I'm going to record the big games from now on and watch them after I know the outcome to save the stress on my mind, body and soul.

I can't believe I just said that, but that's what bad officiating and the pussification of the NFL has done to me.

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sardog's picture

September 16, 2018 at 11:19 pm

Ok, here's a conspiracy theory...A Rodgers team would never win with Corrente's crew. Not only is Corrente a Cal State graduate but so are two (2) of his crew. Since Rodgers has "dissed"Cal State in the past, it only stands to reason it's retribution. By the way all the PI and no PI calls were on the east side side judge who is one of Corrente's CalState buddies. No other NFL Ref crew has that many of the same college alumni. You can find verification on the Football Zebras website.. crew bios and assignments...Oppy and Since 61, your thoughts....fyi Corrente is retired H.S. social studies teacher.

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Oppy's picture

September 17, 2018 at 07:08 am

The NFL has a grading system in place. They review every call made and assess if it was correct or not and its validity. They do this for every ref/judge etc in the game, every call of the entire year.

It's how they determing who calls playoff games, and then, who calls the super bowl. I would assume it is also used to weed out poor judges and detect blatant biases, but that would just be a guess. I'm sure being ref in the NFL involves a performance review, it can't be like a supreme court annointment.

I don't have any idea where I would find information on good calls / bad calls for every single game played much less how to track what crew called any specific game. I wouldn't have the time or desire to verify that information even If there was someplace offering it.

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Lphill's picture

September 16, 2018 at 08:59 pm

Cousins was not even looking for a flag and the ref threw the flag after the play if it was blatant he would have thrown the flag right away. Vegas wins again .

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North-Hudson's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:12 pm

Looked like a fix to me! No PI on Graham for 55 yards too!

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4thand1's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:28 pm

and OPI on Adams WTF

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croatpackfan's picture

September 17, 2018 at 03:34 am

and no defenseless player hit on 2nd and 10 on Adams and no PI on Adams on 3rd and 10 at the end of the game!

And that hold penalty on Lane Taylor that nullified Grahams TD and ... ah, to many, man, to many!

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stockholder's picture

September 17, 2018 at 05:50 am

Allison got the make-up, when his knee was on the ground. He got up and ran for 10 plus more. Adams slight push off and great catch was way to technical. The moron ref just kept it up, one bad call after another. Adams deserved better this game thats for sure.

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Lphill's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:01 pm

Watch the replay the ref does not even move his hand to the flag , a little voice in his ear piece finally told him to .

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The TKstinator's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:03 pm

I think it was Oliver Stone on the other end.

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4thand1's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:07 pm

oh oh, it was picked off, better throw the flag. f-em.

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Coldworld's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:02 pm

Clay has good reason. Seems like the whole of the NFL community other than the official who made the call agrees with him.

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The TKstinator's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:02 pm

The aforementioned “vexed” piqued my interest, so I peeked at the article. Good job!

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Johnblood27's picture

September 17, 2018 at 10:45 am

...and "refutation" OMG!

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Big Moe's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:09 pm

Flat out bullshit call!!!

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4thand1's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:09 pm

Nobody is going to want to play defense anymore. Put flags on the QB's, then we'll see roughing the flag penalties.

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cheesehead1's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:10 pm

These rules are getting ridiculous. I don’t care which team you cheer for. If it happened against Rodgers I’d say the same! This is the NFL. It’s very physical to say the least. They might as well just say you can’t touch the QB.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:17 pm

Clearly the on field judges are not capable of determining these personal fouls at game speed. IMO, they have to be reviewable. It's just so stupid that the hardest calls to make, Holding, Personal Fouls and Pass Interference are not reviewable

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Largo-Lor's picture

September 17, 2018 at 08:45 am

If the call, you blew...
They must review!!!

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Johnblood27's picture

September 17, 2018 at 10:47 am

College reviews targeting calls and determines ejections by the review.

The NFL certainly could mas well.

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snowdog's picture

September 17, 2018 at 01:37 pm

Oh no .. a 5 hr. game of reviews and commercials

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sonomaca's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:30 pm

This might have something to do with last week. If you’re Zimmer, you’re telling the officials before the game, “did you see what Matthews did to Trubisky last week? He’s going to try to take out Cousins. Got to keep an eye on Matthews!”

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Rak47's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:30 pm

My wife brought it to my attention mid way through the second Quarter that gambling on NFL games was now legal as I had paid it no mind. In the third quarter she astutely noted that the Queens were favored in this game and a Packer win would be a loss for Vegas odds makers, but a Vike win would be a win for Vegas and a Tie would be the best case for Vegas as they take all bets in that scenario. Two ties in 2 weeks for the NFL, wonder how many more tie games this year where Vegas takes all? I bet there will be more tie games with a few during some primetime games.

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sonomaca's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:32 pm

Little too much conspiracy thinking there.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

September 16, 2018 at 11:29 pm

A little too naive to think refs can't be bought to make calls to swing the balance of a game. GB doesn't have a wealthy owner. For the next CHTV charity fundraiser let's pool Packer fan money to purchase the reffing crew for the Packer Vikings game in MN. We owe it to the Packers as fans. ~~~~~~~

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Oppy's picture

September 16, 2018 at 11:59 pm

sigh

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Johnblood27's picture

September 17, 2018 at 10:50 am

You all are not naive enough to think that NBA refs are the only arbitors to realize that a windfall awaits he who can influence scores of professional sporting events?

It has been done and proven at this level.

The NFL has PART-TIME EMPLOYEES performing this task.

How can this league be successful with the decision making that goes on in HQ?

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sonomaca's picture

September 17, 2018 at 10:56 am

They’re going to allow refs to wreck a multi billion dollar business? Never. Especially, with the Raiders going to Vegas.

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4thand1's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:30 pm

Watching SNF Cowpokes up 13-3. Cowpokes got a first down then back to back holding calls, ended up 3rd and 20. hmmmmm.

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splitpea1's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:38 pm

These referees are garbage--they stole the game from us. Don't you love how they defend their calls after the game, even when they know they're wrong? Despite our defense reverting to a sieve in the second half, the team played well enough to win this time. Nothing but sour grapes here, even though there were some bright spots. Loved that blocked punt.

It doesn't look like this defense is going to change from a frog to a prince anytime soon. It only took one injury in the secondary to give up a bomb. And to state the obvious, we need players who can disrupt the QB consistently. Impact players don't grow on trees, but the Packers need to find some if they want to beat the good teams--like the one they just played. Sometimes the officials have to be overcome, with this being an extreme example.

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Rak47's picture

September 16, 2018 at 09:57 pm

This link is a perfect view of the hit. Corrente or whatever his name is, is a lying sack of trash when he say's Clay picked up Cousins and slammed him in the turf. Clays feet never stopped moving as to pick up Cousins and drive him in the dirt. It would be damn near impossible to pick up a 220 lb man while bending over to make a tackle and drive him in the dirt without stopping your feet or carrying him several yards past where you first hit him. None of that happened and Corrente [the ref] was staring right at it and still lied through his teeth. Clay hit him at the 15 1/2 yard line and dropped him one yard back. Running full speed and lifting a guy off the ground as you hit him would surely cause the QB to land 3-4 yards from where he was hit. It was total fabricated b.s. by Corrente.

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Minniman's picture

September 16, 2018 at 10:03 pm

Right or wrong, Clay needs to take a leaf out of Mack and Miller's book and play for the ball not the man.

I commented this after last week and while I'm not saying whether I agree or not, but the NFL is clearly against smashing the QB and the ramifications of running that risk are very, very apparent!

Question: I wonder, if Clay had played more for the ball than upending the man (and had "incidental" contact of the QB) would he have still been called?

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Curt's picture

September 16, 2018 at 10:15 pm

Griffin clearly slammed AR more than once.

Daniels wraps up KC and then lets up when the O-lineman hooks him and pulls him away by the jersey - no whistle or no penalty - everybody stops knowing the play was over except the refs.

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Curt's picture

September 16, 2018 at 10:13 pm

Rodgers took three or four more vicious hits than the stupid call on Mathews including a full fledged fist to the face on the first sack and a facemask on a later sack, but nothing was called.

There was a poor roughing called earlier on Minny, but they already had a five yard penalty against them on the same play so it had no impact on the game. Short field goal either way.

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Cartwright's picture

September 16, 2018 at 10:21 pm

And while where at it why wasn't that d-back tossed out of the game for leading with his helmet and hitting Devante in the head. Bad officiating today on both sides of the ball. Weez wuz robbed.

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TarynsEyes's picture

September 16, 2018 at 10:29 pm

Both roughing flags were equally wrong. The issue is which hurt more and I don't mean the QB's.
Rodgers sack in the 2nd quarter didn't have the same effect as to the outcome.This is understandable from a fans point of view but Refs aren't flagging based upon possible outcome but when obviously equally at occurrence.. They did this fairly to both and it happens that Matthews did his at the wrong time. Both were and still are bad calls and that's is that.....Tissue anyone.

One might actually think that a non-hobbled Rodgers could have offered different play calling. The kind that gets him hurt vs Minn etc and a loss instead of a tie.

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fthisJack's picture

September 17, 2018 at 09:14 am

no...the Viking clearly took Rodgers off his feet and drove his shoulder into him on the ground. WTF game were you watching?

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Johnblood27's picture

September 17, 2018 at 10:55 am

please dont feed the trolls.

...and you are feeding the hungriest one of all.

A true attention whore at any cost. Will say absolutely anything, no matter how nonsensical to get a response.

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4thand1's picture

September 16, 2018 at 10:53 pm

Despite the shitty calls, the Pack is in 1st place.

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fthisJack's picture

September 17, 2018 at 09:17 am

this was hiway phicking robbery! plain and simple. what about the PI on Graham that resulted in a big play and then Adams with the phantom push off...another first down. what about the phantom holding on Taylor? clearly just knocked the guy to the ground that negated a TD. Packers should have won this game by 2 TDs and they should be ALONE in 1st!!!! foocking refs!!!!

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Jonathan Spader's picture

September 16, 2018 at 11:34 pm

People are only focusing on the one bad call. I watched CM3 closely all game and Pettine is using him the same way Capers did in 2017. CM3 needs to be moved inside for a straight line shot on the QB. He's taking a roundabout way to get to the QB that's causing these late hits.

Once again he was a step MN or 2 away from Cousins when if he started closer he might have gotten there. Once again he was on the turf a few times during the game. It wasn't just 1 play that was frustrating about CM3's performance. Pick up another rusher in FA or finally give Gilbert a real shot. We've seen what we have in CM3 and so far it's not pretty.

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Ferrari Driver's picture

September 16, 2018 at 11:41 pm

A younger Mathews would have been there before the ball was released.

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Ferrari Driver's picture

September 16, 2018 at 11:45 pm

I will also add that the roughing call on Mathews was one of the worst calls I can recall in my decades as a Packer fan. I was furious after that egregious penalty call.

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fthisJack's picture

September 17, 2018 at 09:19 am

now we have roughing the passer that the refs have no fucking clue on how to call after they got rid of the stupid process of the catch BS!!! too many stupid fricking rules that the refs [email protected] up totally!

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4thand1's picture

September 17, 2018 at 12:27 am

This is the new what is a catch rule. Even Zimmerman said he doesn't know what defenders are supposed to do. Daniels said he thought the QB got rid of the ball and didn't want to fall or get knocked into him and get a penalty. Almost every so called expert has said it was BS.

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Coldworld's picture

September 17, 2018 at 06:32 am

Irritating though an individual loss of a point is in the standings, the real issue here is that this rule and Corrente’s inability (and that of some of his colleagues) to apply it in a way that does not upend games is threatening to kill the sport.

Ultimately I want to watch players decide games. I don’t want deliberate take outs of players, but I also don’t want football-lite. The NFL is in danger of killing the whole premise on which it has based it’s success. Devalues the whole exercise.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 17, 2018 at 06:35 am

I'm still F***ing pissed about this!

Its going to take a while to get over this one.

NFL better change its rules so that it oversees refs from making game changing decisions on the field.

Its not just the Mathews hit either although that was by far the biggest one.

The OPI on Adams was absolutely terrible. The called back TD on the Taylor pancake block is another one. And yes the roughing the QB on Kendricks was also bad. Regardless of that penalty it gave the Packers a first and 10 rather then first and 5, as there was an offsides penalty on that play.

NFL needs to be ashamed of themselves for allowing complete bullshit calls change outcomes of games.

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Lphill's picture

September 17, 2018 at 06:39 am

Even Cousins said it was a generous call , that says it all right there.

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PackfanNY's picture

September 17, 2018 at 07:41 am

The NFL has created a situation where there is no turning back from. With the new rules and "emphasis" on QB safety it is virtually impossible to make a play on the QB. Hit too low...penalty. Hit too high... penalty. Hit just after he releases the ball...penalty. They forget the game is played at full speed. Not at replay speed. I find it laughable people trying to determine if he "left his feet" or "picked him up" or "came down with full body weight" He did none of these things. Yet here we are with every Zabruder film conspiracy theorist trying to figure out what we just saw. A simple, clean hit to a QB in a physical game played by strong physical players. Of course, the cursory NFL denial of reality is coming from some nerd in the NFL office telling us what we saw is not what we think we saw. Sad. Let's play two hand touch.

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PAPackerbacker's picture

September 17, 2018 at 02:51 pm

I've made the comment before about how quickly the refs are calling roughing the passer penalties this season. Taking away the competitive edge of a great play such as the hit Matthews put on Cousins, takes away credibility from the game of football. There needs to be reviews on these kinds of calls, especially when there is a change of possession, or a touchdown is called back because of a penalty. I've seen roughing the passer called in other games that was totally bogus. When one ref can determine the outcome of a game with a lame call then there should be ways to prevent such enormity in the sport.

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4thand1's picture

September 17, 2018 at 08:08 am

Yes, like the targeting in college. They review the hit, then decide.

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PAPackerbacker's picture

September 17, 2018 at 02:53 pm

Agreed. That is one very good idea!!

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Since'61's picture

September 17, 2018 at 09:20 am

Ray Nitschke is spinning in his grave watching this "mamba-pamby" NFL football. Pro-wrestling here we come. Thanks, Since '61

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PAPackerbacker's picture

September 17, 2018 at 02:57 pm

A long time ago when football was football Jack Lambert put it best when asked how to protect the QB. His answer was put a skirt on them. :-)

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Barazinho's picture

September 17, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Based on the errors made by the referees - the missed PI on Graham followed by the OPI on Adams, the phantom holding call, the roughing - the game was simply too fast for them. It reminded me of the replacement refs, in how overmatched they were. It underscores the need for clearly defined rules - the new protections were designed to prevent an egregious case of driving the QB into the ground, but are applied to cases where the tackler simply lands on the QB. If the refs are having trouble keeping up with the speed of play, the application of that rule becomes arbitrary. It will be interesting to see if the refs show more restraint going forward - it will tell us that the NFL rule people realize that they created a problem.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

September 17, 2018 at 01:08 pm

I still don't know what a catch is. Seeing Davante Adams catch the ball, lay down in the end zone with the ball in his hands, then seeing it ripped out and called incomplete left me going REALLY?! Having them uphold the call was even worse.

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4thand1's picture

September 17, 2018 at 03:10 pm

Sadly this will continue because the NFL wants and needs QB's to stay on the field. And more so when you have hits that still happen like the hit on Luck last week and Cam N this week. What's interesting CM didn't get fined last week and he won't get fined this week.

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