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Mike McCarthy on Clay Matthews’ penalty: He did what he was coached to do

Vikings Packers Football

Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews is called for a roughing the passer penalty during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, in Green Bay, Wis. The game ended in a 29-29 tie. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)


Packers linebacker Clay Matthews disagreed with referee Tony Corrente’s decision to penalize him for a hit on Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, adding that penalties “are out of control.”

A day later, Packers coach Mike McCarthy wonders what Matthews was supposed to do.

“He did what he was coached to do,” McCarthy said, via Jay Sorgi of WTMJ. “He tries to brace, the weight distribution. . . . [Officials] saw it differently.”

Jaire Alexander intercepted Cousins’ pass with 1:45 remaining in the fourth quarter, which would have allowed Green Bay to escape with a 29-21 victory. Instead, the 15-yard penalty kept the drive alive, and the Vikings scored a touchdown and two-point conversion to send the game to overtime.

Corrente said in a postgame pool report that Matthews had essentially “burped” the quarterback, picking him up and throwing him to the ground.

A league source said the play was correctly officiated, because the technique of grabbing the passer from behind the leg or legs, scooping and pulling in an upward motion is a foul.

McCarthy said he is “all for” player safety and protecting the quarterback, but officials have to make sure “it’s not a competitive disadvantage to the pass rusher.”

“I think anytime you have a desired result, there’s a formula to get the results,” McCarthy said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN. “You’ve got to make sure you look at all the variables, but I’m not sure the variables are clear right now.”

McCarthy also took exception to a holding call on offensive lineman Lane Taylor that negated a Jimmy Graham touchdown.

“I didn’t see a hold there,” McCarthy said, “but we have to convert on the next set of downs.”

Corrente had to answer questions from a pool reporter after the season opener, too, when the league office waited too long to initiate a review of Rob Gronkowski’s questionable catch in the final two minutes of the first half.