Dec 1, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; A general view of a penalty flag thrown by a referee during a game between the Buffalo Bills and the Atlanta Falcons at the Rogers Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

NFL’s Points Of Emphasis Leave Green Bay Packers Frustrated

The Green Bay Packers had three big plays wiped out Saturday by penalties that are being called more closely this season.

Green Bay lost two touchdown passes because offensive linemen were flagged for illegal hands to the face, one of many points of emphases for the league’s officials this season.

Left tackle David Bakhtiari was the guilty party in the first half, when Aaron Rodgers’ touchdown laser to Jordy Nelson was nullified on a drive that eventually ended with a Mason Crosby field goal.

In the second half, Scott Tolzien’s pass to Myles White for a 4-yard touchdown was taken off the board when rookie center Corey Linsley was flagged for the same penalty.

Also in the second half, Chris Banjo lost an interception and a 19-yard return into St. Louis territory because defensive end Carlos Gray got his hands in the face of a Rams offensive lineman.

Rodgers said after the game Saturday that the call was being made too frequently.

But linebacker Clay Matthews’ take is that it simply is what it is.

“Penalties are just one of the things where it looks like we’re going to have to deal with it, along with every other team in the league,” Matthews told the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Matthews said it was unfortunate the Packers lost a trio of big plays because of the calls, but that it is something that it’s up to the players to adjust to.

“Obviously, there’s been a point of emphasis on what seemed like hands to the face, illegal hands to the face, as well as contact past five yards downfield, and they’re making an emphasis about that,” Matthews said. “Yeah, I think it took some—I think an interception and a touchdown off the board—which is unfortunate. I know I hate to see that. I’m sure the fans don’t like to as well.

“But ultimately, rules are rules. So you can’t really complain too much about it. But, you know, we’ll see because obviously the fans drive this game. I’m sure if they’re not liking it, we’ll change it.”

The Packers were penalized 12 times on Saturday for 95 yards and have had 18 penalties accepted against them through two games of the preseason for 157 yards.

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Tags: Clay Matthews Green Bay Packers

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