The Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers brawled during Sunday’s season opener after Clay Matthews launched himself at Colin Kaepernick with a late hit in the second quarter.
The Niners had a 3rd and 6 situation and Kaepernick didn’t find any receivers, so he decided to run to his left. He was by the sidelines and had stepped out of bounds when Matthews hit him, leading to an sportsmanlike conduct penalty for the linebacker. But Matthews’ late hit caused 49ers offensive lineman Joe Staley to get upset and step in to defend his quarterback. A mini-brawl broke out, and the teams were hit with offsetting penalties.
The referees actually made a mistake by allowing the 49ers to replay the down after the offsetting penalties. Kapernick threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin to make it 14-7 San Francisco on the replay of 3rd and 6. Maybe the touchdown was karma for the late hit.
There were a few questionable aspects of that drive. One, Packers coach Mike McCarthy opted to decline a 5-yard penalty for illegal formation, making it 3rd and 6 instead of 4th and 1. Two, the refs gave San Francisco an extra down when they allowed them to replay 3rd and 6.
Matthews said during the week before the game that he would be looking to get his hits in on Kaepernick. He was not lying.
Video of the brawl is below: