Packers rookie LB Matthews feasts on Lions offense
Of all the big plays
With the Detroit
It was a play the
“They’re going to go for it on fourth and one, you make a play to stop them and they’re off on downs,” Capers said. “Those are the kind of defining plays in games.”
And a defining moment for Matthews.
Playing for the first time as an every-down outside linebacker in Capers’ 3-4 defense, Matthews had two sacks and three tackles for losses as the
“I’m always looking to make an impact,” Matthews said. “Obviously, I can’t say that I’ve arrived or anything along those lines. I still feel I’ve got a ways to go. I’m still young, and I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m glad to be making a few plays and making the impact that I am.”
It was a breakout performance for Matthews, who came to the
Matthews was slowed by a hamstring injury for much of training camp and spent the first four regular-season games playing mainly in nickel situations and on special teams. With Sunday’s performance, he might have claimed a permanent place on the field.
“I was very pleased with Clay, and really the whole defense,”
McCarthy said Matthews was one of five players to earn a game ball Sunday.
Matthews’ performance wasn’t perfect, of course. Virtually all of his big plays came in the first quarter and a half of Sunday’s game, and he was fairly quiet in the second half.
But McCarthy said he didn’t see any signs on film that Matthews wore down. Instead, more of Matthews’ big plays came in the base defense – something the
Capers said the decision to expand Matthews’ role was made during last week’s bye based on his performance in the loss to the
“We brought him here to be a three-down player,” Capers said. “We had him in there early in training camp and he had the hamstring issue. Since that time, I think he’s played well enough in our sub (nickel) package that he deserved to have an opportunity to play all three downs.”
“Man, he played well, and you’ve got to let him go,” Poppinga said. “They brought him in here to do what he did (Sunday). You’ve got to let him go and let him do his thing.”
Separately, McCarthy said receiver