That turned a potential 47-yard field goal to tie the game (or a try to convert on fourth) into a 62-yarder that Billy Cundiff couldn’t hit. Morgan’s penalty came at the end of a day filled with post-play pushing and shoving between the teams that went unpenalized, which might be why coach Mike Shanahan said Monday that there’s no need for Morgan to apologize to the team. He also said that Morgan’s role won’t change and that it should be a learning experience for the wideout.
“A lot of these veterans set these guys up,” Shanahan said, via Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com. “When you take a look at the film and you see a guy push you in the face, and all of a sudden a guy loses his composure and the other guy is walking away. And you throw the football at him and he’s laughing, you understand what he’s doing. It’s part of a young guy growing up.”
Shanahan said that he thought the officials were very close to losing control of the game and that letting all the extracurricular activities go unchecked helped contribute to players losing their composure. Finnegan has gotten under the collar of other receivers in the past so it’s no surprise that he was able to get Morgan to take the bait on Sunday. Whatever the situation with the officials or the encouragement of the opposition, though, Morgan needs to know better and it sounds like Shanahan will give him a chance to prove he learned the lesson.
And, beyond all that, Morgan’s penalty was just one of several reasons why the Rams came out on top. Focusing on the other mistakes will keep the team from being in the position to let a penalty hurt them in the final moments.