SAN FRANCISCO -- When Clay Matthews said last week that part of the Green Bay Packers' plan for defending the read-option offense was to hit the quarterback, this admittedly wasn't what he had in mind.
In the second quarter of Sunday’s 34-28 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Matthews tackled Colin Kaepernick after the quarterback ran out of bounds at the end of a 4-yard scramble on third-and-6 from the Packers’ 10-yard line. Matthews was penalized for a late hit, which started a fracas on the sideline.
Without Matthews’ penalty, the 49ers would have faced a fourth-and-2 at the 6-yard line.
“First off, it wasn’t a very smart play,” Matthews said. “I had already committed to hitting the quarterback. I mean, I guess I should have figured he was going to step out of bounds, but it’s nothing personal. I went up to him later and was joking around with him, but [it was] not a very smart play. That’s kind of the end of that.”
Except it wasn’t the end of that play. 49ers tackle Joe Staley jumped into the fracas and also was penalized. And when referee Bill Leavy incorrectly enforced the penalties, it gave the 49ers an extra down, and they scored a touchdown.
Matthews likely will get fined for the hit.
“I’m not worried about it,” he said.
Said Kaepernick, when asked about the chippy nature of the game: "If intimidation is your game plan, I hope you have a better one.”