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Thread: Rams flagged down
Rams flagged down
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Monday, Nov. 13 2006
SEATTLE — There was running back Steven Jackson chugging for the end zone, and
what shaped up as a victory-clinching touchdown. Seattle defenders were tugging
and poking at him from every direction — some of it legal, some of it
There was guard Todd Steussie hustling in to "push the pile," and help Jackson
into the end zone. Wide receiver Isaac Bruce coming in over the top. Throw into
the mix what appeared to be a slow whistle to end the play by referee Gerry
Austin's short-handed officiating crew.
Some Rams players started celebrating. Center Richie Incognito came into the
pile late. And then, into this organized chaos came a penalty flag.
Incognito, known for his hothead ways in college, was whistled for a personal
"I was surprised it was on me," Incognito said. "I thought it was on them."
Nope. Incognito's penalty opened the door just a crack for Seattle, and the
opportunistic Seahawks barged through once again. Incognito's penalty gave the
Seahawks excellent field position on the ensuing kickoff. The end result was a
38-yard field goal by Josh Brown with 9 seconds remaining, giving the Seahawks
a 24-22 victory over the beleaguered Rams.
Just four weeks earlier, Brown's 54-yarder at the buzzer gave the Seahawks a
30-28 victory over St. Louis in the Edward Jones Dome. It is now official.
Brown is the worst thing to happen to the Rams in terms of kickers since Adam
Viniateri of the Super Bowl XXXVI champion Patriots.
If not a dagger to the heart of St. Louis, Brown's field goal Sunday was at
least a staggering blow. At 4-5, the Rams have lost four in a row. Seattle
(6-3) is in the catbird's seat for its third straight NFC West title.
"It's pretty frustrating," coach Scott Linehan said. "You can't let it get to
you. That's easier said than done. But my job as well as everybody else's on
this football team is to keep hanging in there as tough as it gets. It doesn't
get any easier when it starts mounting up."
It's mounting up, all right. This was a game when the St. Louis defense was
pummeled in the first half. When the offense couldn't get anything going
downfield all day. When left tackle Orlando Pace was lost for the season with a
triceps injury. When Seattle's Nate Burleson delivered a backbreaking 90-yard
punt return for a score midway through the fourth quarter.
Through all that, the Rams still had a chance to win on Jackson's 14-yard TD
run with 2 minutes 30 seconds to play. The Rams were up 22-21 when Incognito
was whistled for the personal foul. Replays never showed exactly what Incognito
did. Apparently it was a shove.
"It was a scrum, and I went in to protect Steven, and it resulted in a personal
foul," Incognito said. "Heat of the moment. It happened."
According to Linehan, it never should have happened.
"That's a critical mistake," Linehan said.
Whatever may or may not have happened in the pile, Linehan said, "It's not an
excuse. You can't make a critical mistake there and force your kickoff team to
kick off from the 15-yard line. It just can't happen."
Because the penalty occurred on a TD, the yardage was assessed on the ensuing
kickoff. So instead of kicking from the 30, Jeff Wilkins did so from the 15.
Josh Scobey returned the kick 33 yards to the Rams' 49. Limited to only 11
yards in the second half to that point by the St. Louis defense, the Seahawks
were able to scratch out 29 yards to set up Brown's game-winner.
Despite Linehan's criticism of Incognito, more than one Rams player — Jackson
among them — defended him.
"Any offensive lineman's going to come down there and protect the guy," guard
Adam Timmerman said. "It did seem like they were continuing to rough Steven up,
and you're going to do something about it."
At the end of the play, Jackson's helmet was off, apparently compliments of a
Seattle player. The slow whistle may have occurred because Austin's crew was
minus umpire Ruben Fowler , who couldn't finish the game because of a knee
But back to the helmet.
"It was ripped off, actually," Jackson said. "Incognito did exactly what he was
supposed to, he was protecting his running back, and unfortunately, we got the
flag and they didn't. He had nothing to be sorry for. And if it happens again,
I want him to do it again. Protect me."
But Incognito compounded the problem by getting flagged for holding on what
otherwise would have been a successful two-point conversion. So instead of
having a 24-21 lead, the Rams were up by just a point once Wilkins kicked off.
After being outgained 243 yards to 119 in the first half, the Rams squandered
excellent field position throughout the second half. Up 16-14 early in the
fourth quarter, Linehan made a questionable decision to go for it on fourth and
1 from the Seattle 12. He compounded things by attempting a pass into the end
zone on a play that fell incomplete.
Fullback Paul Smith was supposed to be one of two receiving options on the
play, and tight end Joe Klopfenstein was the other option. But Smith botched
the assignment and never made it out of the backfield. He stayed in to block.
"I couldn't hear the call," Smith said. "I knew we had run out of that
formation before, so I sort of guessed. ... I tried to ask Marc (Bulger), but
he didn't hear me. I tried asking someone else, but by that time, it was too
late. So I erred on the side of protection. I just blew it."
It was that kind of game — and it's shaping up as that kind of season — for the
Re: Rams flagged down
I don't see why they are making such a big deal about Josh Brown. He is just kicking the ball. Why should we care about him?
I am not going to be mad at Incognito for showing a little spunk. The seahawks play dirty and I can understand the guys wanting to stand up for each other. The refs can't see everything, but they should know that players react when things are happening. Don't think for a second that the overreaction from that Raider player that got ejected on Monday was unprovoked.
Personally the special team TD was the worst play of the game. Linehan's 4th down call was the second worst play.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]