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Another look at Jake Long's tripping penalty

Did the Rams fall victim to another bad call last week?

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Without a doubt, the officials really blew it in last week's loss to the Carolina Panthers. Things got chippy, but players from the St. Louis Rams took most of the fallout for that, rather than any kind of equal share in the stupidity. And then there was that tripping penalty on Jake Long that got a Tavon Austin touchdown called back. Head coach Fisher took exception to that call specifically in his Monday press conference.

"They're an excellent rushing defensive team, especially at the ends," Fisher said. "Jake periodically will get help as you help most tackles through it by a tight end or a back. So, Cory (Harkey) did a nice job of just banging on the way out and caught Jake off surprise and Jake went down."

As for the defender, Fisher said he didn't fall because he ran into Jake Long's leg.

"The defender, the end, was already on his way down when Jake lost his balance and his leg went out, and so the appearance is that it's a trip. His leg did not affect the course or trip the defender."

The broadcast replay, from the end zone camera, actually got a pretty good look at the play, better than coaches film even. We GIF'd the offending moment.


"The defender was going down, but I could see what the umpire saw there. It was just an unfortunate set of circumstances and took a big play away from us, and it’s kind of what happened yesterday in a lot of areas was we got very close."

It does look like the defensive end, Wes Horton, is losing his battle against gravity there. However, Jake Long's left leg kicks back out, after both knees were on the ground, and it sure looks like the move helps finish Horton's fall.

The refs have to call that play. Like the rest of us, they can't peer into a player's mind and know their intent. And when you look at this play unfold, and you watch Long's leg kick back out after being down, it certainly looks like a trip.

And here's another problem for the penalty-prone Rams, they're not going to get the benefit of the doubt anymore, not with an established track record of drawing oodles of flags every week.

The Rams have 56 penalties through seven games, an average of eight per game. Last season, the Rams have 150 penalties, an average of 9.4 per game, so there is some improvement on that front. Offensive holding is the most frequently called penalty against the Rams, 11 times, but defensive players, mostly veterans, lead the team in flags drawn.

Janoris Jenkins has six, the most on the team. Cortland Finnegan, who hasn't played the last two weeks, has five penalties, with three declined. Chris Long, Trumaine Johnson and Ray Ray Armstrong each have four.

Unfortunately for the Rams, they lack the ability to overcome even a modest eight penalties per game.