Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fisher Frustrated by Calls in Dallas Game

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fisher Frustrated by Calls in Dallas Game

Article excerpt

The 448 yards produced by the Rams against the Dallas Cowboys was the highest offensive output for the team in a regulation contest in 30 games.

That was Game 6 of the 2012 season, coach Jeff Fisher's first with the Rams. They had 458 yards three games later, but had an extra quarter to get there in a 24-24 overtime tie with San Francisco.

So Sunday was a rare day offensively for Fisher's Rams. They outgained the Cowboys by 108 yards. Trouble was, they gave all but four of those yards back via penalty, because the Rams had 119 yards in penalties assessed against them to Dallas' 15. That's a 104-yard differential.

Rarely is there such a wide disparity in penalty yards between two teams in one game. In fact, there's never been as big a disparity in either direction since the Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995.

The next-biggest differential came under Steve Spagnuolo in 2011, when the Rams were assessed 117 yards in penalties compared to 32 for Baltimore an 85-yard disparity.

On the other sideline, the biggest differential favoring the Rams came in a 27-24 overtime victory over San Francisco in Game 2 of the 2003 season. The 49ers were assessed 121 yards in penalties, while 43 yards were measured off against the Rams a disparity of 78 yards.

At his Monday media session, Fisher didn't realize the historical significance of what happened against Dallas in terms of penalty yards. But he wasn't happy about the 104-yard differential, and he made that clear.

"Believe me, I looked at them," Fisher said. "We had several of them that are not fouls, probably four in particular."

The four Fisher was referring to, in chronological order:

* Penalty No. 1: A roughing the passer call against Eugene Sims late in the second quarter, a play in which referee Clete Blakeman explained Sims delivered a blow to the head.

Replays showed that Sims' left hand hit Tony Romo's shoulder, and then, as he was falling over a Dallas blocker, it barely grazed the Dallas quarterback's helmet.

The NFL rule book states that there has to be forcible contact to the head for there to be a penalty. Former NFL director of officiating Mike Pereira, now a Fox television analyst, was brought into the telecast to assess the call. He said there was not enough contact, and it should not have been a penalty.

The result of the drive was a Dan Bailey field goal to cut the Rams lead to 21-10 at the half. Without the penalty, the Cowboys are left facing a third-and-7 from the St. Louis 37, and maybe they don't kick a field goal.

* Penalty No. 2: An offensive holding call against wide receiver Kenny Britt late in the third quarter on a running play by Trey Watts.

"I didn't think that was a foul. The (defender) fell down," Fisher said.

Instead of having a second-and-3 situation from the Dallas 10, the Rams were pushed back to their 17 (on a spot foul), and settled for a Greg Zuerlein field goal. …

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