I hesitate to spend too much more time talking about the St. Louis Rams Week 8 loss to the Patriots in London. But I was struck by something Jeff Fisher said as I was reading the transcripts from this week's press conferences.
Penalties were an obvious problem for the Rams, from Bradley Fletcher's pass interference flags to all kinds of trouble at the line of scrimmage. The Patriots avoided some flags themselves, most notably roughing the passer.
"I was a little disappointed - they also missed three roughing the passer calls on our quarterback," Fisher said on Tuesday. "Those are 15-yard penalties and they keep drives alive. But, as I said, it's a difficult game to officiate and they're not going to see everything, but I'd like to have seen him do a better job of protecting our quarterback."
The Rams needed anything and everything they could get to keep drives alive. A blown call like that hurt the offense. More importantly, it sets an unfair standard for what constitutes roughing the passer and left Sam Bradford vulnerable to injury.
There was one play in particular where the missed call caught Fisher's eye.
Second quarter, 1st-and-20 at the Rams 49-yard line. Bradford is, of course, pressured. Doing what any elite quarterback would do, he runs back and to his left, where he finally connects with Daryl RIchardson for a loss of two yards.
Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower hits Bradford and brings him down. Watch:
Is that roughing the passer? I'll take Fisher's word for it. Hightower gets in an extra hit while slamming Bradford to the ground.
This is when Kellen Clemens came in for a few plays and Rams nation held its breath. It was also one of the more frustrating examples of watching Bradford play, he runs in the one direction where he's least likely to extend the play. If you're going to take a hit, orient yourself down the field, off to the side or somewhere that you might find a few more yards or an open receiver, which is admittedly easier said than done.
So what do you think, did the refs miss a call here?
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