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  • Rams flagged down

    By Jim Thomas
    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
    apparently illegal.

    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

  • #2
    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.


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    • RamWraith
      Burleson sparks Seahawks to huge NFC West win
      by RamWraith
      By John Clayton

      Five weeks ago, Nate Burleson looked like a $49 million goat, who instead turned out to be the most unexpected hero. By being called for an illegal formation instead of a false start in the final seconds of the Seahawks-Rams game in St. Louis, Burleson saved Seattle a 10-second run-off penalty, giving Josh Brown the chance to kick a game-winning 54-yard field goal as time expired.

      On Sunday in a steady downpour in Seattle, Burleson eliminated any confusion about his role. He made the game-saving 90-yard punt return for a touchdown with 8:19 left that put the Seahawks in position to beat and, just as importantly, sweep the Rams.

      How the Seahawks got to Brown's game-winning this week (a 38-yarder) involved two goats in Rams colors. (Goats? Ouch)!)

      Nate Burleson's 90-yard punt return for a TD may have been the spark that propelled the Seahawks past the Rams. "I don't know if I was a hero in the last Rams game because honestly I thought I lost it for a second. Tears were welling up in my eyes," Burleson said. "Today, though, I'm not the hero. The heroes were the guys blocking for me and Josh Brown."

      The goats Sunday were Rams coach Scott Linehan and Rams guard Richie Incognito. Linehan made the bonehead decision to go for it on fourth and a long one instead of settling for a likely sure-thing field goal after winning a coach's challenge early in the fourth quarter.

      It looked as though the Rams had taken a 19-14 lead when Jeff Wilkins kicked a 35-yard field goal, but just before the ball was snapped, Linehan threw his red challenge flag at a sideline official. Turns out Kevin Curtis made a catch about a yard-and-a-half short of a first down at the Seahawks 12-and-a-half yardline.

      Instead of trying the field goal again -- this time it would have been no more than a 30-yarder and just for the record, Wilkins was 11 for 11 from inside 40 yards entering the game -- Linehan went for the first down. The play was a disaster. Fullback Paul Smith didn't hear the play call in which he was supposed to float into a short pass route to force a Seahawks defender into covering him low. Smith just stayed in the backfield, messing up the play. Two Seahawks defenders then had coverage on the Rams' main target, tight end Joe Klopfenstein. With little open, quarterback Marc Bulger tried to make a tight throw that went incomplete.

      Trailing by only two points instead of five, the Seahawks needed to only get a field goal to take the lead instead of a touchdown, easing their margin of difficulty to win the game. That difference became very apparent when Incognito made bonehead decision No. 2.

      Rams halfback Steven Jackson scored a 14-yard touchdown to counter Burleson's touchdown return to give the Rams a 22-21 lead with 2:30 left in the game. Someone on the Seahawks defense ripped...
      -11-13-2006, 06:44 AM
    • RamFan_Til_I_Die
      Futility flashback
      by RamFan_Til_I_Die
      Futility flashback
      By Jim Thomas

      SEATTLE — The foundation for Rams football under rookie head coach Steve Spagnuolo is supposed to be built on intensity, focus and attention to detail. Suffice it to say, the foundation still contains plenty of cracks, and it's going to take more than a little spackle to seal them.

      Oh, the intensity was there in Sunday's 28-0 drubbing by the Seahawks at Qwest Field. Trouble was, it frequently got out of control. (See: Richie Incognito.)

      But the focus and attention to detail? Apparently, those two qualities didn't make the trip to the Pacific Northwest.

      Granted, for 1½ quarters, the Rams showed the kind of resiliency necessary to dig out of the franchise's recent doldrums. But one mistake after another eventually took its toll. When a blocked field goal for a touchdown by St. Louis was reversed by a penalty for too many men on the field the floodgates opened.

      Seattle broke open what had been a 7-0 game before the blocked field goal play, scoring on three of its next four possessions. By game's end it looked like just another rout — complete with 10 penalties against St. Louis, 446 yards offense by Seattle and next to no production by the Rams' inept offense on third down and in the red zone.

      Despite an offseason replete with change at every level of the organization, it looked very much like, you know, the same old sorry (bleep) Rams.

      "I'm not going there," Spagnuolo said afterward. "This was the first game of the 2009 season. That's what it is. We didn't win. We're going to play the second game of the 2009 season next week."

      Spagnuolo took the blame for all the penalties. "That's a discipline thing and that falls on the head coach," he said.

      Similarly, he fell on the sword when it came to the blocked field goal, a play in which the Rams added new meaning to the mystique of Seattle's 12th Man. (When he wasn't in the stands cheering on the Seahawks, the 12th Man apparently was lining up with the Rams' field goal block unit.)

      C.J. Ah You, playing in his first NFL regular-season game, blocked Olindo Mare's 49-yard field goal attempt, with Quincy Butler scooping up the football and racing 51 yards for a touchdown to tie the score 7-7 with 49 seconds left in the first half.

      But there was a booth review on the play, which can happen when there is under 2 minutes to play in either half.

      "In replay, under 2 minutes, the replay booth takes over the game," referee Pete Morelli told a pool reporter. "One of the categories they have the ability to review is 12 men on the field. ... They count every play."

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      -09-14-2009, 08:25 AM
    • RamFan_Til_I_Die
      'You can't let passion turn into anger': Rams pay for penalties in loss to Seattle
      by RamFan_Til_I_Die
      'You can't let passion turn into anger': Rams pay for penalties in loss to Seattle

      SEATTLE -- The St. Louis Rams paid for their penalties, especially a too-many-men-on-the-field infraction that negated a touchdown off a blocked field goal late in the first half, during a 28-0 season-opening loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

      The Rams had 10 penalties for 85 yards. They had four false start penalties and three unnecessary roughness penalties.

      "I just got done saying to the guys that I love the fact that we have a lot of passionate football players, but you can't let passion turn into anger or get you off your game,'' Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said.

      The Rams got a quick start on the penalties as right guard Richie Incognito was flagged for a false start on the team's first offensive play from scrimmage.

      "There's a stat in this league that I think says if you get a penalty on any offensive series, then your chances of scoring a touchdown goes down to like 14 percent,'' Spagnuolo said.

      The volatile Incognito also was flagged for two 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalties.

      The first penalty was for shoving a Seattle player after a 2-yard run by Steven Jackson in the first quarter.

      "The first one was just me losing my cool,'' Incognito said. "It was chippy. It was an exciting atmosphere. This is a great place to play in. I'm really disappointed in myself. I lost my cool on that one.''

      Spagnuolo pulled Incognito out of the game and replaced him with Adam Goldberg after he got charged with the second unnecessary roughness penalty in the third quarter.

      "When that happens to anybody, they get wrapped up in the moment,'' Spagnuolo said. "I talked with Richie. We have a lot more games to go, and we'll go from here. I told him that I still had confidence in him. I don't lose confidence in a guy on one game. I think Richie is one of our passionate guys, I really do. I think he plays his butt off. Sometimes you have to temper that a little bit, that's all.''

      Incognito was back in the game in the fourth quarter.

      "I am really disappointed in letting my teammates down, I let my coaches down,'' Incognito said. "I feel really bad about letting Spags down. But, we're professionals. We pick ourselves up and move forward.''

      The most devastating penalty came after C.J. Ah You blocked a field goal, and Quincy Butler picked up the loose ball and ran 51 yards for a touchdown with 59 seconds left in the first half.

      The replay assistant called for a review, and the play was reversed because the Rams had 12 men on the field.

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      -09-14-2009, 08:47 AM
    • RamFan_Til_I_Die
      Sloppiness is still the Rams' trademark
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      Sloppiness is still the Rams' trademark

      By Jeff Gordon

      Sloppiness crept into Rams Park during the Mike Martz Era, during those exciting “Shoot, we’ll fix it” days.

      Those teams routinely wasted timeouts, drew untimely penalties and coughed up the football. Those teams had the firepower to score more points than they gave away, so life was still pretty good.

      But when the Rams lost some of that firepower, things turned ugly fast. Martz’s latter-day Rams were an undisciplined mess.

      His successor, Scott Linehan, never got things under control. Hiring him as head coach of the Rams was like sending a 12-year-old crossing guard to work Times Square. It was a total mismatch.

      Every week the hapless Linehan talked about the accountability in his program. And every week there was absolutely no accountability in his program. The same players made the same mistakes game after game after game.

      Colorful interim coach Jim Haslett got the team’s attention for a couple of weeks last season, before the team reverted to its unruly ways.

      Despite Steve Spagnuolo’s best efforts, we just saw more of the same in Week 1 of this season.

      The Rams have a new team president, a newly empowered general manager, a new coach and a mostly new coaching staff. Nearly half of the players are new this season, too.

      Yet the sloppiness remains in this organization, like a pesky virus or a mutant strain of cockroaches immune to bug spray. The Rams blundered their way to a 28-0 loss Sunday, continuing their futility against the NFC West in general and the Seahawks in particular.

      Sure, the Rams played with passion. Steven Jackson was as demonstrative as we’ve seen him and even Marc Bulger was feisty.

      Of course, when the other team pounds your face into the turf you ought to get mad. Rookie Seahawks linebacker Aaron Curry crushed Jackson and the Seattle defense did a tag-team number on Bulger, giving him another thorough physical beating.

      Jackson and Bulger pushed back, which is good for them.

      As for the overall game, though, it offered just more of the same:

      The Rams got the ball first, but Donnie Avery immediately fumbled it back to the Seahawks on the opening kickoff return. He did not protect the ball when he cut into traffic.

      On their first snap from scrimmage, Richie Incognito was flagged for a five-yard false start penalty. This gave Bulger a first-and-15 situation to start with, on his own 15. The Rams gained six yards on three plays and punted.

      On the Rams’ second possession, Jackson ground out a first down. But on a second-and-nine play, Incognito took a trademark 15-yard personal foul penalty. This gave Bulger a second-and-22 situation to deal with . . . and soon the Rams punted...
      -09-15-2009, 01:23 PM
    • RamWraith
      A win, by Josh
      by RamWraith
      By Jim Thomas
      Monday, Oct. 13 2008
      LANDOVER, MD. — Josh Brown's kick sailed high and long, and then 90,376 grew
      silent at FedEx Field.

      "I was like, 'Did we make it?'" said linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, who couldn't
      see the result of the kick.

      Brown made it, and then it sunk in.

      For the visitors from St. Louis, the long gridiron nightmare was over. Not
      since Dec. 2, 2007, had the Rams won a regular-season football game. But
      Brown's 49-yard field goal as time expired gave the Rams an improbable 19-17
      victory Sunday over Washington, ending a four-game losing streak this season
      and an eight-game skid dating back to the final month of 2007.

      "I was so emotional afterwards," Tinoisamoa said. "In disbelief, because it's
      been so long since we got a win. ... I didn't know if I wanted to cry or laugh."

      Minutes later in a raucous Rams locker room, running back Steven Jackson gave
      Brown a huge bear hug.

      "I used to (bleep) you all the time," Jackson shouted at Brown.

      (That was in reference to Brown's two game-winning field goals as a Seattle
      Seahawk to beat the Rams in 2006.)

      Minutes earlier, some Rams wanted to do more than hug teammate Richie Incognito
      after his 15-yard personal foul in the final seconds of play.With the Rams in
      great position for a chip-shot field-goal attempt at the Washington 16, and
      just 38 seconds left, quarterback Marc Bulger took the snap and kneeled down,
      forcing the Redskins to burn their final timeout. But wait a minute. ...

      "They kind of took at shot at Marc," said Incognito, a world-class hothead and
      the team's self-proclaimed sheriff at offensive guard. "They tried to push the
      line back, so we were getting everyone up. And the next thing you know, we're
      all jaw-jacking. Steven (Jackson) comes in, he pushes me back."

      Jackson was trying to get his teammate back in the huddle. Next thing you know,
      there's a flag on the field. Incognito, who already had been flagged earlier
      for unsportsmanlike conduct, was penalized again.

      According to Rams coach Jim Haslett, the explanation he received from referee
      Walt Coleman was that Incognito was penalized for cussing.


      "If that's the case, I probably would've gotten about 15 (penalties) today,"
      Haslett said. "All the players told me that it wasn't true; he didn't say

      Didn't matter. The call stood. So instead of having an easy 34-yard attempt,
      Brown lined up for a much more difficult 49-yarder with 2 seconds remaining.
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      -10-13-2008, 10:37 AM