‘A football play:’ Another penalty for Matthews in Green Bay’s 31-17 loss

WASHINGTON -- Adrian Peterson ran for 120 yards and a pair of 2-yard scores, Alex Smith threw two touchdown passes — all in the first half Sunday — and the Washington Redskins held on for a 31-17 victory over a gimpy Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, who again had complaints about a roughing-the-passer penalty on Clay Matthews.

On a rainy afternoon, the Redskins (2-1) moved out to leads of 14-0 and, at halftime, 28-10, by putting together TD drives of 74, 75, 79 and 98 yards.

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 23: Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after being called for a penalty in the third quarter against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on September 23, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Smith connected for TDs of 46 yards to Paul Richardson on the game's fourth play and of 9 to Jamison Crowder in the second quarter.

Peterson, who ran 19 times Sunday, raised his career total to 102 rushing touchdowns, breaking a tie at 100 with Marshall Faulk and Shaun Alexander and moving him alone into seventh place in NFL history behind Emmitt Smith's record of 164.

This was Peterson's 52nd game with at least 100 yards on the ground, and first since Nov. 5, 2017, for Arizona against San Francisco.

Playing with a bulky brace on his left knee, which he hurt in Week 1, Rodgers hobbled and limped around, and couldn't do enough to get the Packers (1-1-1) back into the game.

He finished 27 for 44 for 265 yards with two TDs — of 64 yards to Geronimo Allison and 2 yards to Davante Adams — and was sacked four times.

But Green Bay's receivers had problems with drops, plus Randall Cobb was stripped of the ball by Fabian Moreau — Josh Norman recovered the fumble — after a completion with about 5½ minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

In the third, Packers linebacker Matthews was flagged for roughing Smith — and there are sure to be more questions about what constitutes a penalty on such plays. Matthews broke in alone on Smith, wrapped him and brought him down. Matthews immediately put his arms up and slapped himself in the helmet as the flag was thrown.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy threw down a play-calling sheet and argued with two officials about the call, even chasing one along the sideline as he backpedaled away.

In Green Bay's 29-all tie against the Minnesota Vikings last week, a potentially win-sealing interception for the Packers was wiped out by a roughing call on Matthews when he hit Kirk Cousins.

Matthews had this to say after Sunday's loss in Maryland:

"Obviously I don't agree with it, again. Whereas last week I thought I did it, you know, hit the quarterback correctly, head was to the side again, wrapped him up, and you see, as soon as I hit the ground, you see me try and pull my hands out. Obviously when you're tackling a guy from the front, you're going to land on him. You know, I don't -- I understand the spirit of the rule. I said that, you know, weeks prior. But when you have a hit like that -- that's a football play. I even went up to Alex Smith after the game and asked him -- you know, 'what do you think?' You know, 'what can I do differently?' Because that's a football play, and of course, you know, like I said last week, the NFL's going to come back and say I put my body on him, you know, but that's a football play. I hit him from the front, got my head across, wrapped up. I've never heard of anybody tackling somebody without any hands. When he gives himself up as soon as you hit him, your body weight's gonna go on him, but you know, I think we are looking for the hits that took Aaron out last year, you know, that little extra. If I wanted to hurt him, I could've. I could've put, you know, some extra on him, but, you know, that's football, so, I dunno. You know, I really don't know. Unfortunately this league's going in a direction that I think a lot of people don't like. You know, I think they're getting soft, and, you know, the only thing hard about this league is fines that they levy down on guys like me who play the game hard, so I dunno. I mean, I'm just gonna keep playing hard. I mean, maybe now pass rushers don't have to get after the quarterback. You just have to attack the ball, which is, I've been playing this game for over 20 years. That's how you tackle, so we'll see. I mean, you know, something's gotta change, cuz, you know, the league's not, and this is big plays. You know, like I said last week, these are big plays, so. Disappointed. You know, I tried to change from last week and still get the flag, so, you know, it's unfortunate. (Alex Smith) said 'I think you're going to have to start going after the ball.' I don't think he thought anything was wrong with the hit. You know, it wasn't like he was coming to my defense, but at the same time, you know, I think he kinda sees where this thing's going and you just gotta go after the ball now. What you saw out there was a football play. I beat my man. I'm right in front of the, you know, the quarterback. I get my head to the side, I wrap him up. You know, he gave himself up. I land on him, I pull my hands out. I didn't put any, you know, as you see in the language, any physical, you know, whatever the wording is. I didn't do that, so, like I said, I like the spirit of the rule. I just think they're going the wrong direction with this. Just kinda disbelief. Just that it's 'here we go again' type deal. You look at the outcome of last week's game and obviously you'd say that's more meaningful, but that fact that it's, you know, it happens again, that's frustrating. And that's kinda, you know, disheartening, so I dunno if one's bigger than the other. They're both unfortunate and, you know, we've gotta figure something out. We're talking about the MVP quarterback who gets suplexed. That's a good hit. But me, I put 250 pounds on a quarterback the right way, and here comes a flag. Like I said, I dunno the direction in which they're going, I just, I don't like it."

On Sunday, Smith went 12 for 20 for 220 yards. He also had his streak of 156 consecutive passes without an interception, the longest active run in the NFL, end in the second quarter. Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix made the pick when tight end Jordan Reed went one way and Smith threw another.

That was one of many times when loud cheers of "Go, Pack, go!" rang through the Redskins' stadium. Last week, Washington's home sellout streak ended and there were plenty of boos heard during a 21-9 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

The following Packers' players were declared inactive ahead of Sunday's matchup:

  • 8 QB Tim Boyle
  • 19 WR Equanimeous St. Brown
  • 20 CB Kevin King
  • 22 RB Darius Jackson
  • 27 S Josh Jones
  • 70 T/G Alex Light
  • 82 WR J'Mon Moore

The Washington Redskins scored quickly. After the Redskins touchdown, it was 7-0 with 12:54 left in the first quarter.

Washington added to their lead with a touchdown by Adrian Peterson, with 2:14 left in the first.

In the second quarter, Mason Crosby hit a 41-yard field goal to get the Packers on the board. The Redskins led 14-3.

Packers Ha Ha Clinton-Dix grabbed his second interception of the year early in the second.

Washington Redskins QB Alex Smith's streak of consecutive passes without an interception was over after 156 attempts, the longest active such run in the NFL.

The throw was intended for tight end Jordan Reed, but he broke inside and the football went outside, where Clinton-Dix was waiting for the easy play.

Smith hadn't been intercepted since Dec. 10, 2017, when he was playing for the Kansas City Chiefs against the Oakland Raiders.

Washington extended their lead to 21-3 after another touchdown in the second. Redskins QB Alex Smith passed to Jamison Crowder for nine yards, and the extra point was good.

With under two-and-half-minutes left in the first half, Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison scored a 64-yard touchdown, and the extra point was good, bringing the score to 21-10, Redskins leading.

The Redskins added to their lead when Adrian Peterson ran the ball into the end zone for a touchdown. With the extra point, Washington led 28-10 heading into halftime.

The Green Bay Packers scored in the third quarter with a touchdown pass from QB Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams. With the extra point, the score was Redskins 28, Packers 17.

A roughing the passer penalty was called in Clay Matthews for the third consecutive week late in the third quarter.

The score remained Redskins 28, Packers 17 at the two-minute warning.

The Redskins added to their lead with a field goal, bringing the score to 31-17.