Linebacker Clay Matthews was one of the most popular Green Bay Packers players of the 2010s. The former USC star spent 10 seasons in green and gold and was an impact player in his rookie season. His hustle and exuberance made him a fan favorite and he helped the Packers win Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2010 season.
Matthews earned Pro Bowl honors six times and was named All Pro once in his decade in a Packers uniform. He is also the team’s official all-time sacks leader with 83.5.
He came from a football family. His father and grandfather also played in the NFL as did his brother Casey and several cousins.
Matthews was a team player. Although he was a dominant edge rusher, he moved to inside linebacker at the height of his career when injuries struck the team at that position. He played well at his new position even though it clearly cost him some personal statistics.
Here is a look back at five fabulous Clay Matthews moments with the Green Bay Packers:
Clay Matthews Packers Moment Number 5:
2009 Week 4, Packers at Vikings
Matthews scored his first NFL touchdown in just his fourth career game. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was running down the left side of the line when he was stopped by Matthews and several teammates. Matthews reached in and snared the ball away from Peterson and ran it back 42 yards for a touchdown that tied the game at 14-14.
Clay Matthews Packers Moment Number 4:
2010 Week 9, Cowboys at Packers
Matthews put the icing on the cake of the Packers 45-7 route of Dallas when he intercepted quarterback Jon Kitna and ran it back 62 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
This was one of Matthews most dominant games as he also had a sack, two tackles for losses, two quarterback hits and broke up two passes.
Clay Matthews Packers Moment Number 3:
2011 Week 13, Packers at NY Giants
The Packers managed to keep their perfect season alive on a last second field goal by Mason Crosby which improved their record to 12-0. It wouldn’t have been possible without the strong play of Matthews who finished the day with a sack, a forced fumble, a pass broken up and three quarterback hits.
His highlight of the game came early in the second quarter when he intercepted Giants quarterback Eli Manning and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown. That put the Packers ahead 14-10 in a game they eventually won 38-35.
Clay Matthews Packers Moment Number 2:
2012 Week 2, Bears at Packers
Matthews had one of his more dominant performances in this Thursday night win over the Bears at Lambeau Field.
Matthew sacked Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler 3.5 times in the game, made seven total tackles including three tackles for loss and was credited with four quarterback hits. He also broke up one pass by Cutler as the Packers rolled to a 23-10 victory.
The Packers defense limited Chicago to just 74 net passing yards and 168 total yards for the entire game.
Clay Matthews Packers Moment Number 1:
Super Bowl XLV Forced Fumble
The Packers were clinging to a 21-17 lead as the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLV got underway, but the Steelers were driving and had the ball 2ndand-2 at the Green Bay 33. Matthews came up with a big play, ripping the football out of the hands of Pittsburgh running back Rashard Mendenhall.
Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop scooped up the loose football. Eight plays later, Aaron Rodgers found Greg Jennings for an eight-yard touchdown pass and the Packers led 28-17 en route to a 31-25 win.
Just before the play, NFL Films cameras captured Packers linebackers coach Kevin Greene telling Matthews, “It is time” to make a big play. Matthews came through in the clutch and the Packers were Super Bowl champions.
Matthews should have been named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2010s, but he will certainly be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame as soon as he is eligible. He has remained one of the most popular players over the last few decades and his place in franchise history is secure.
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