GRAPEVINE

Packer Plus - - News - NFL Grapevine Mike Hart Mil­wau­kee Jour­nal Sen­tinel USA TO­DAY NET­WORK – WIS.

Mis­take-filled ef­fort was more than just sloppy

Raise your hand if at some point dur­ing the de­ba­cle on Sun­day you were pe­nal­ized for putting too much body weight on your couch.

It’s prob­a­bly safe to say that Clay Matthews won’t be ask­ing that Claus fel­low for yel­low han­kies this hol­i­day sea­son.

For the third con­sec­u­tive game in a row, Matthews was pe­nal­ized for rough­ing the passer. Only one of the penal­ties was mer­ited.

This time he was flagged after he sacked Alex Smith late in the third quar­ter. So there can be rough­ing the passer when there’s no pass. OK.

NFL Foot­ball Op­er­a­tions re­leased

this state­ment dur­ing the game: This is a foul for rough­ing the passer — the de­fender lands “with all or most of the de­fender’s weight” on the passer. Rule 12, Sec­tion 2, Ar­ti­cle 9(b).

Of course after this came out, ev­ery­one stopped putting Cheez Whiz on their Ritz Crack­ers to look up Rule 12, Sec­tion 2, Ar­ti­cle 9(b).

You know, this re­ally livens up a Pack­ers party.

Mike Mc­Carthy was sure livened up. He stormed up and down the side­line after the call. Too bad his charges didn’t dis­play that type of en­ergy dur­ing the tilt.

Af­ter­ward, ref­eree Craig Wrol­stad said this about the penalty: “I had judged that the de­fender landed on the quar­ter­back when he was tack­ling him with most or all of his body weight and that’s not al­lowed. If you do that, it’s rough­ing the passer. So that was ba­si­cally my key, that he landed on him with most or all of his body weight and that was my rul­ing, rough­ing the passer.

“But if you’ve got a shoul­der into him and then landed on him with most of his body weight off him or re­leased him when he went down, then he would have been OK. But in my judg­ment, I ruled that he landed on him with most or all of his body weight there.”

To the sur­prise of no one, Matthews was up­set with the call.

“Un­for­tu­nately, this league is go­ing in a di­rec­tion that a lot of peo­ple don’t like. I think they’re get­ting soft,” Matthews said.

Un­for­tu­nately, the call took all the fo­cus away from the fact that the Pack­ers were not ready to play of­fen­sively or de­fen­sively.

There were dropped passes, missed blocks, missed as­sign­ments, poor pass cov­er­age, fail­ure to call run­ning plays and, of course, dropped flags.

The Green and Gold had 11 penal­ties for 115 yards — in­clud­ing three for pass in­ter­fer­ence on one drive. Ev­ery time you do that, it will add up to a 31-17 loss.

“We’ve got to clean our own house,” Mc­Carthy said. “It’s sloppy right now.” Sloppy? It’s a pig sty. A down­cast Aaron Rodgers stood at the podium to face the mu­sic after the game. He was asked what he would tell his team­mates after the em­bar­rass­ment that left the Pack­ers at 1-1-1.

“Go home and have a scotch,” he said. “That’s what I’m go­ing to do.” That wasn’t a bad idea. The game film might look bet­ter.

FEAR­LESS FORE­CASTS

Game of the week: Min­nesota at Los An­ge­les Rams. The Vik­ings only have a few days to fig­ure out how they were routed at home by the Bills of all teams. The Rams are so good that Jack Ni­chol- son and Dyan Can­non might start show­ing up at games. Rams 30, Vik­ings 27.

Game of the weak: Hous­ton at In­di­anapo­lis. This game would be pretty darn good if it was the NBA. Colts 13, Tex­ans 6, James Harden 0.

Bills at Pack­ers: Rodgers had a 34.3 passer rat­ing the last time these two played on Dec. 14, 2014. He’d have at least a 34.4 passer rat­ing if he threw left-handed. The Bills may be too busy pre­par­ing for an­other re­tire­ment party dur­ing half­time. Pack­ers 20, Bills 17, OT.

VINELINES

Steve Rosen­bloom of the Chicago Tri­bune: “You heard me. The Bears. First place. Alone. A feat they hadn’t ac­com­plished since Week 16 five sea­sons ago. OK, so it’s only a 2-1 record. It’s still the best in the di­vi­sion. Off one of the worst-look­ing per­for­mances. We’re all go­ing to need a ther­a­pist.”...

Nor­man Chad, syn­di­cated colum­nist: “The Bills will in­tro­duce a new pro­mo­tion to en­gage fans – those in at­ten­dance will vote on which player should re­tire at half­time.”...

Dwight Perry of the Seat­tle Times: “The Par­adise Val­ley, Ariz., home that Cardinals re­ceiver Larry Fitzger­ald is putting on the mar­ket for $5 mil­lion boasts 7 bed­rooms, 8 bath­rooms, a 12car garage and a wine room that will hold 1,200 bot­tles. And, we pre­sume, no short­age of yards.”...

Bob Con­dotta of the Seat­tle Times, on Cap­tain Mun­ner­lyn (2012) and Prince Amuka­mara (2018) ac­count­ing for the only reg­u­lar-sea­son in­ter­cep­tion TDs thrown by Sea­hawks QB Rus­sell Wil­son: “So yeah, he’s been pick-sixed by a Cap­tain and a Prince.”...

Brad Dickson, com­edy writer, on how to spot the fan­tasy-foot­ball play­ers in a sports bar: “They’re the ones scream­ing ‘YES!’ when some­body runs for 3 yards off-tackle with two min­utes left and the score is 44-6.”...

Jim Barach, com­edy writer: “Bills cor­ner­back Von­tae Davis says his half­time re­tire­ment was ‘ther­a­peu­tic.’ Sort of like the way rats feel when they jump off a sink­ing ship.”

From Packer Plus wire ser­vices and other news sources. Send emails to mhart@jour­nalsen­tinel.com.

GEOFF BURKE / USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Pack­ers line­backer Clay Matthews is flagged for rough­ing the passer after this hit on Wash­ing­ton quar­ter­back Alex Smith.

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