Penalties were a problem for the Rams in Sunday’s loss to the Falcons, but coach Jeff Fisher said the officials were a bigger problem than his players’ mistakes.
“We were penalized seven times in the game; in my opinion, we should have been penalized twice. I was upset after the ballgame but watching the tape, those are incorrect calls,” Fisher said, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Rams’ costliest penalty may have been the first, when defensive end Chris Long was called offsides on a third down play when the Rams had initially stopped the Falcons. Instead of having to punt, the Falcons were able to keep the drive going and ended up scoring a touchdown. But Fisher says it was obvious that Long moved only after the Falcons’ offensive line moved, and that the penalty should have been called on Atlanta.
“It was not a defensive offsides; it’s like false start 101,” Fisher said. “You’ve got a third-and-12 and we’re called offsides, so we now we have a third-and-7 and they convert. If it’s called correctly, you have a third-and-17. Third-and-17’s are hard to convert. We would most likely have a three-and-out and get the ball back. Instead, they go down and score on their first drive.”
Fisher said he knows the officials are doing the best they can, and he acknowledged that every team has to deal with bad calls sometimes. He just thinks the Rams got some particularly bad calls, and those calls could have been the difference on Sunday.
Still, Fisher wants his players focused on what they could have done, not what the officials did.
“By no means am I placing blame,” Fisher said. “I have great respect for the officiating department and the officials. We work very close with them and we move on. We had chances in that ballgame. We had chances to get off the field, chances to make plays [and] didn’t make them.”
And the officials had calls to make and didn’t make them.