T.J. Watt on Matt Ryan: ‘I can’t blame him for playing the game’

If Matt Ryan was embellishing, T.J. Watt doesn’t blame him.

The Steelers outside linebacker got flagged for a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty midway through the second quarter of Pittsburgh’s 41-17 win against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday after briefly touching Ryan’s leg. Atlanta would go on to cut the Steelers’ lead to 13-10 on the drive and Watt would earn AFC defensive player of the week honors for his three-sack performance.

Though Watt said he does not know what is and isn’t a penalty anymore in the league in which he plays, Ryan falling to the ground and gesturing toward him made sense to the pass rusher.

“If I was him, I would. Why not? Fifteen yards helps your team a lot. If I’m a quarterback I’m gonna sell it too,” Watt said. “So I can’t blame him for playing the game.”

Mike Tomlin criticized NFL officiating after the game, said on Tuesday he didn’t expect to be fined and on Wednesday was fined, according to USA Today.

Watt did not know Tomlin was fined until a reporter told him as much on Wednesday after practice, but he did note the head coach was simply filling his particular role.
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“Ah, he’s doing his job,” Tomlin said. “And it’s not my job to complain about the refs because my opinion means absolutely nothing and I go out and control what I can control.”