Penalty Difference Perplexing
Monday, October 27, 2008
By Nick Wagoner
Given a day to review the tape and reflect on the events of Sunday’s game against New England, Rams coach Jim Haslett refused to get too upset over the most glaring statistic to come out of that contest.
The Rams were flagged nine times for 63 yards against the Patriots, a number Haslett was only disappointed in because of his team, not the officials.
But it was New England’s amazing perfect game, zero penalties for 0 yards that raised many an eyebrow.
“I thought there should have been some calls on the other side,” Haslett said. “The facemask on Marc (Bulger) was a penalty, tackling Marc after he threw it was a penalty. But again they are all subjective calls, judgmental calls so for me to put myself in a position to make a call and your eyes or my eyes might see a different thing. They are all subjective and that’s kind of how it all works.”
By no means did Haslett or any other Ram want to shift the blame for the 23-16 loss on to the officiating crew. But there’s no doubting there were more than a few no calls that went by the boards.
The facemask on Bulger was actually one of just two occasions in which the official threw a flag on New England. Inexplicably that flag was waved off when another official ran in and pleaded the Patriots case. Haslett got no explanation for that play.
Among the other plays that didn’t draw flags were a couple of potential holding penalties, an apparent late hit on the sideline after cornerback Fakhir Brown’s interception and what appeared to be a late hit followed by unnecessary roughness on a hit on Bulger by defensive end Richard Seymour.
Those were among the plays Haslett spotted when watching the film Monday and said he would send in to the league. That might be an exercise in futility considering the league review of those plays won’t yield any changes but Haslett says there is a reason for doing it.
Just let them know you know.
“They’ll actually say that the call should have been called this way or called that way or they disagree with you and say it was called properly,” Haslett said. “It’s actually a good thing, it really is.”
The league will review the plays the Rams send and let them know if they have a legitimate claim. Other than that, though, there isn’t much that comes out of those plays.
Despite the myriad missed calls, it was actually a spot of the ball that infuriated Haslett more than any other play.
On a Donnie Jones punt early in the fourth quarter, the ball sailed wide and out of bounds on the Rams sideline. The ball was marked out of bounds at New England’s 48, though it appeared it had actually crossed out of bounds about 10 to 12 yards further down the field.
“I thought we should have had at least another 10 years,” Haslett said. “I didn’t know if the ref was in the right position to make the call. The ball started tailing at the end. I thought we should have had another 10 yards. Again, those calls are subjective and that’s just how it goes.”
For the record, New England is the least penalized team in the NFL with 22 penalties in seven games. Kansas City is the closest with 31 and Seattle and Philadelphia have been flagged 32 times.
JACK IS BACK: Haslett announced Monday afternoon that running back Steven Jackson will be back on the field and starting against Arizona this week after he missed Sunday’s game against the Patriots.
“Steven should be ready to go this week,” Haslett said. “He looked good today. It was questionable yesterday. It grabbed a little bit and we thought and he thought it was the best thing to sit out and get him ready for this game.”
The Rams are expecting Jackson to not only play but be back at full speed and ready to take a full work load against the Cardinals.
LITTLE QUESTIONABLE: Rams defensive end Leonard Little aggravated the hamstring injury that took him out of the season opener against Philadelphia and the next two games against New England.
Little had an MRI on Monday and he has been diagnosed with a hamstring strain. That injury isn’t likely to keep him out for an extended time but his status for this weekend is uncertain.
“We’ll see how he goes in practice this week and determine whether he will play or not play,” Haslett said. “He seemed upbeat.”
LONG’S LEARNING: Defensive end Chris Long had another impressive performance against the Patriots, coming up with a pair of sacks in the second half to double his rookie season total to four.
Long continues to improve on a week to week basis and now leads all rookies in sacks just seven games into his young career.
“I think he has confidence in what he’s doing and a better understanding of the defense,” Long said. “That helps. He’s playing fast. He played well yesterday. He’ll get better too. The week before he probably played better. He had five quarterback hits but didn’t have a sack. He’s doing a good job. You can see it. I can’t wait to get him and Leonard on the field at the same time for a couple games in a row.”
INJURY REPORT: Elsewhere on the injury report, defensive tackle Adam Carriker is going to be questionable again as he continues to recover from an ankle injury. Carriker sat out Sunday’s game against New England.
Tight end Joe Klopfenstein has a torn ligament in his wrist though he will continue to play with a wrap and brace on it.
Cornerback Tye Hill (knee) will return to practice this week and could be active against Arizona.
Receiver Drew Bennett (foot) is expected to begin running again in practice though he won’t play this week
Re: Penalty Difference Perplexing
I watched the game last night. I was out all day on Sunday and I missed it. It is interesting watching a game when you already know the outcome and you have already read about the lack of penalties on the patsies side. I was irrated by the lack of holding calls on their OL and by the late hits on Fakhir Brown and Bulger. The one by Seymour was rude and he even took the time to push Bulger around. That would certainly have been called by other officiating crews.
I do hate that team and this kind of special treatment makes me hate them more. This was a close game and a couple of penalties in our favor could have made a difference.
Oh well, it's the NFL and we have seen this before.:|