Before Sunday's game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers, Packer's linebacker Clay Matthews stated that the Packers would be going after quarterback Colin Kaepernick: "One of the things that the referees have told us is that when these quarterbacks carry out the fakes, they lose their right as a quarterback, a pocket-passing quarterback, the protection of a quarterback. So with that, you do have to take your shots on the quarterback, and obviously they're too important to their offense." And on Sunday, that is exactly what Matthews attempted to do. However, the all-pro linebacker for the Packers was unable to do so... legally; Matthews did happen to get a hit on Kaepernick, but that hit happened to come late after the play was over and the quarterback had run out-of-bounds.
Matthews and the Packers certainly had reason to be targeting Kaepernick. Just 8 months ago during the playoffs, Kaepernick torched the Packers for 181 yards rushing and led the 49ers to victory in just his first playoff start. In said game, Kaepernick was responsible for 2 touchdowns through the air and another 2 on the ground. The 181 yard performance was a playoff record, and also seemed to serve as a metaphorical "slap" against the Packers defense.
Literal slapping occurred after Matthews made the illegal tackle on Kaepernick. Following the play, 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley rushed to the defense of his quarterback (Both statements being ironic because Staley would never rush anywhere at 315 pounds and doesn't play defense seeing as he is an offensive lineman, but you get the point.). While grappling with Matthews on the sidelines, Jim Harbaugh (the coach of the 49ers) said "... I saw two punches thrown to Joe's head. Well, one punch and one open slap. Which if you're gonna go to the face, come with some knuckles, not an open slap."
What is your opinion on the statement and actions of Matthews? Respond in the comments section below.
The statement by Harbaugh simply continues his onslaught against the statements and actions made by Clay Matthews. In response to the comments Matthews made before the game concerning going after the 49ers quarterback, Harbaugh made the following statement:
“You’re hearing some intimidating type of talk. Kind of things — same things we were hearing a couple of years ago. It sounds a lot like targeting a specific player. “You definitely start to wonder. A man will usually tell you his bad intentions if you just listen. You know what’s being said publicly, you wonder what’s being said privately. You hope that their intent is not going to be anything that’s not within the rules.”
After the game, Harbaugh would also said toward Matthews that "I think that young man works very hard on being a tough guy. He'll have some repairing to do to his image after the slap."
When one adds together all the comments made by both sides, the actions committed during the game, and the botched call by the referees, and we have what looks to be a quickly evolving rivalry; A rivalry which seemingly brings much tension and animosity for years to come.
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