"Flag" day has been frequent for Rams

By Howard Balzer

(KSDK Sports) -- Jeff Fisher-coached teams have always had the reputation of playing with an edge, and the result has often been a lot of penalty flags. That is certainly the case now with the Rams.

As most coaches will usually point out, a certain number of penalties are unavoidable. With the Rams, not only is the team near the top of the league in penalties assessed and yardage lost, but the Rams are also the second-most penalized team in "major" penalties: unnecessary roughness, personal fouls, roughing the passer, taunting and unsportsmanlike conduct.

With three games to play, overall the Rams have the third-most penalties assessed in the league with 100 (they have also had 12 declined). Only Tampa Bay with 106 and Seattle with 104 have more. They have lost 807 yards, which is sixth most behind Tampa Bay, 1,000; Seattle, 966; Houston, 912; Denver, 834 and Cincinnati, 819.

After the Rams lost 90 yards on 11 penalties Sunday against Arizona, one week after they had 11 penalties for 105 yards against San Francisco, Fisher said, "They're high; they have been the last two weeks (and) they're an issue. There's a number of them that we've looked at, we've discussed, that shouldn't have been called. But still, nonetheless, they're up. We had our first penalty in seven games in the return game, and that was disappointing."

There were also major penalties, as there have been throughout the season, several of which fall in the category of questionable calls. But that is the case throughout the league.

Against the Cardinals, defensive end Robert Quinn was flagged for a personal foul as a buildup of frustration from being held without penalties being called.

Said Fisher, "He's got to keep his poise; he can't take his helmet off with the frustration."

The Rams have been flagged 23 times for those major penalties with three being declined: unnecessary roughness (9), personal fouls (7), roughing the passer (4), taunting (2) and unsportsmanlike conduct (1).

Those penalties have cost the Rams 244 yards, which is 30.2 percent of their total lost yardage on penalties.

Tampa Bay, the Rams' opponent on Dec. 22, has 24 penalties called with one declined. Of that total, 15 are for unnecessary roughness, seven for roughing the passer and two for unsportsmanlike conduct. The next highest team is Seattle with 17.

By contrast, this week's opponent, the New Orleans Saints, have just eight major penalties despite being tied for second in the league with 43 sacks and first in sacks per pass play. Overall, only eight teams have fewer penalties than the Saints' 74 and only seven have fewer assessed yards than the Saints' 606.

Cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins (10) and Trumaine Johnson (nine) are the most penalized Rams this season, with one of Johnson's penalties being declined.

Jenkins' penalties have cost the team 86 yards and eight first downs, while Johnson's have lost 54 yards and resulted in seven first downs.

Howard Balzer will be contributing to KSDK Sports throughout the 2013 NFL season. Howard hosts "H and Friends" Monday-Friday from 9-11 on Fox Sports 1490 The Champ. He is also a host on SiriusXM NFL Radio and one of 44 selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame


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