Packers need Clay Matthews to reverse current tackle-free trend

Packers inside linebacker Clay Matthews had one of his least productive games as a pro against Arizona. Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It was a tough weekend for Clay Matthews.

First, the Green Bay Packers linebacker was named prominently in the Al Jazeera report that alleged several NFL players were supplied with performance-enhancing drugs. It’s a charge Matthews and teammate Julius Peppers vehemently and repeatedly denied (another Packers player, linebacker Mike Neal, was more vague in his comments).

Then, Matthews did something he’s never done before in his seven-year NFL career: he failed to record a single tackle (solo or assist) in a second straight game. It marked the first time in 100 career regular-season games that he was shut out of the tackle department in consecutive outings.

The only stat Matthews was credited for in Sunday’s 38-8 loss to the Arizona Cardinals was a lone quarterback hit. That’s more than he got the week before against the Oakland Raiders, when he was completely shut out of the stat sheet. That didn’t change after the coaches’ film review, either. If this week's film review doesn't change the stats, it will mark just the fifth time in Matthews career that he's failed to record at least one tackle.

Matthews said he got word of the Al Jazeera report late Saturday night, but that it did not serve as a distraction against the Cardinals.

"It’s annoying more than anything else," Matthews said after the game. "I work so hard to have the reputation in which I did. You guys see that day-in and day-out -- coming in on off days, having my own physical therapist, people I work with. For these type of allegations to come my way, I try to do everything the right way. It’s frustrating in that regard, because I feel like it’s unfair. I guess it’s part of the deal of being in the spotlight, but like I said, 100 percent fabrication, untrue. I don’t know who this man is. I’ve never seen him. I’ve never communicated with him. That’s the God’s honest truth."

Here’s the full defensive breakdown from Sunday’s game (the offensive breakdown can be found here):

Total defensive plays: 58

Defensive line

Notes: Guion (two tackles) and Pennel (three tackles, one sacks) played well enough after Raji left at the end of the first quarter because of a concussion. Daniels recorded his first career interception in the second quarter and returned it to the Cardinals’ 15-yard line, but the offense couldn’t turn that into any points.


Notes: Ryan was charged with three missed tackles, according to ProFootballFocus.com. He was one of three Packers to miss on running back David Johnson’s 44-yard gain on a swing pass in the first quarter. Raji and Perry also missed.

Defensive backs

Notes: Other than Daniels' interception, the only other defensive player to get a hand on one of Carson Palmer's throws was Burnett, who broke up a third-and-goal pass to Johnson in the second quarter to hold the Cardinals to a field goal. Without Sam Shields (concussion), the Packers did not match any specific player against Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and held him to four catches for 29 yards and one touchdown. However, Michael Floyd caught six passes for 111 yards.