With Pittsburgh leading 23-10 during their 33-10 win, Matt Cassel's pass to Welker went incomplete and the receiver was knocked down by Clark, who was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness. New England ended up losing a fumble on that series.
"It was not like I was trying to be cheap," Clark said. "Anybody that comes across (the middle), it is my job to tackle them. The ball got tipped, but (the official) said I should not have left my feet. ... I talked to Kevin Faulk and apologized."
Welker finished with four catches for 30 yards, ending his NFL record streak of 11 games with at least six receptions to start a season. He entered the game with 80 receptions, second in the NFL to Houston's Andre Johnson, who had 81.
Welker tied Cincinnati's T.J. Houshmandzadeh with an NFL-best 112 receptions last season.
Asked about the penalty against Clark, Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said, "I don't comment on penalties or officiating."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press