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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings and Packers both end up seeing red over work of the refs

By Judd Zulgad

GREEN BAY, WIS. — The Vikings trailed the Packers by seven points with 1 minute, 45 seconds left in the fourth quarter on Sunday when Kirk Cousins’ deep pass for Stacy Coley was intercepted by cornerback Jaire Alexander.

The celebration that began at Lambeau Field was short-lived.

Cousins remained on the turf and a penalty flag rested nearby. Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was assessed a 15-yard penalty by referee Tony Corrente for roughing the passer and eight plays later the Vikings had tied the score on Cousins’ 22-yard pass to Adam Thielen and then a pass that went to Stefon Diggs on a two-point conversion.

Matthews was livid about the call — the second against him in two weeks for roughing the passer. “I don’t even know where to start,” Matthews said after the Packers’ 29-29 overtime tie with the Vikings. “I have so many emotions running through (me) as far as … just what a terrible call it was. I don’t know what else to do. You let me know. Did I put pressure on him? I thought I hit him in his waist, chest. I got my head across, put my hands down. And to call it at that point in the game is just unbelievable.

“Last week, OK, shame on me. But this week? That’s unbelievable. And the worst part is, we’ll 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. You see how it changed the game.

“I know there’s an emphasis on protecting quarterbacks, but it’s gotten out of control here. I don’t know what else to do. It’s frustrating because the interception is game right? Instead, they go down and score, overtime. And we had opportunities to win the game, no doubt about it. But frustrating to allow a call – when I felt like I did the right thing – it influenced the game. I didn’t get an explanation whatsoever. I looked up and saw a flag there. Hopefully, the league gets to the refs and tells them to tone down a little bit.”

Corrente, speaking to a pool reporter after the game, said that Matthews had driven Cousins to the ground after lifting him up. “(That) had nothing to do with the rule of full body weight,” Corrente said, referring to the rule that is being emphasized after Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr essentially ended Aaron Rodgers’ season last year with a hit that broke the quarterback’s collarbone. “It has nothing to do with helmet to helmet. He picked the quarterback up and drove him into the ground.”

One would have thought the Vikings would have been pleased with Corrente’s work on Sunday but that was far from the case. Minnesota was assessed eight penalties for 70 yards and Green Bay had seven for 54 yards. Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks also was assessed a roughing the passer call after a hit on Rodgers. That Green Bay drive ended with a 37-yard Mason Crosby field goal just before halftime.

The Kendricks call resulted in this tweet from Mike Pereira, who was once in charge of officiating for the NFL and is now a rules expert on Fox.

That was not a foul for roughing the passer in Green Bay. He did not land on top of Rogers with his body weight.

— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) September 16, 2018

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, meanwhile, wasn’t happy with the lack of holding calls against the Packers.

Asked about the pressure the Vikings got on Rodgers, Zimmer said: “Early in the game, I don’t think we did. I thought we did better in the second half. They grab our guys so much on the outside and don’t get called for it. During the game we talk about having to make these guys move side-to-side, got to make them move their feet. If you come in there and they grab around the outside, it’s supposed to be called holding but it doesn’t happen a lot of times.”

Zimmer also was upset about a penalty on defensive end Danielle Hunter, saying, “I thought the call on Danielle, hit in the back, was a terrible call. He’s just rushing and he thought the guy was coming to chip him so that was a … I can’t say that (word).”

As for the roughing the passer calls that have become one of the bigger early season issues in the NFL, Zimmer said coaching how to hit quarterbacks has become more difficult.

“You’ve got a target area of about the size of a strike zone and then you can’t fall on top of him and you can’t hit him in the knees and you can’t hit him low, you can’t hit him in the head,” Zimmer said. “So you have to hit him in a strike zone and then you can’t fall on him. It’s almost, ‘What do you want us to do? Hit him with our shoulder and not fall on him?’ I know that’s the highest penalty that’s been being called is roughing the passer but hopefully they figure this thing out.”

The post Vikings and Packers both end up seeing red over work of the refs appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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