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Rams slowed Sunday by season-high 12 flags

2012-10-15T17:32:00Z 2012-10-15T19:47:23Z Rams slowed Sunday by season-high 12 flagsBy Jeremy Rutherford jrutherford@post-dispatch.com 314-444-7135 stltoday.com

Among the areas that put the Rams on the wrong side of a 17-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins Sunday was the number of penalties taken by Jeff Fisher's club.

The Rams were whistled for 12 infractions for a total of 94 yards - both seasons highs by far. The previous high was seven flags, which happened multiple times, and the previous high in yards was 65, which came in the season opener. 

Fisher acknowledged that a couple of calls were iffy, but said that NFL official Gene Steratore is "one of the better referees" and credited his crew.

"Josh (Hull) did have a deal where the guy went down and they called holding," Fisher said. "The other one that was called really was a side block. It wasn't a block in the back. And those things happen in games, but yeah, uncharacteristic for us - thus far - to have that many penalties.

"We had a false start, we had two defensive offsides, we had a (defensive pass interference), we had a roughing the passer (against Chris Long). The roughing the passer, I'd really prefer not to see that flag. That was a rule change."

Entering Sunday's game, the Rams were tied for 13th in the NFL in fewest number of penalties called against them this season and they were 12th in fewest yardage surrendered.

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RODGERS LOOMING

After limiting Miami to 185 passing yards on Sunday, the Rams now rank third in the NFC and sixth in the NFL against the pass (210.7 yards per game).

But coming to town Sunday are the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Pack's passing game hadn't quite been in sync this season, but all Rodgers did Sunday was throw for 338 yards and six touchdowns in a 42-24 rout of Houston.

Fisher and the Rams coaching staff took in Green Bay's win over the previously unbeaten Texans after returning from Miami.

"They have a pretty good quarterback, a very good team and they're well coached," Fisher said.

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SPREADING THE BALL

With the absence of wide receiver Danny Amendola (shoulder), quarterback Sam Bradford connected with 10 receivers Sunday in Miami (five wideouts, three running backs and two tight ends).

"When Danny was injured, we were asked, 'How are you going to replace him?'" Fisher said. "We said, 'Everybody was going to step up,' and they have ... Austin Pettis shows up and helps to keep drives alive in the slot. Steve Smith makes some catches, so the guys are all contributing. "

Brandon Gibson led all receivers with 91 yards Sunday. Chris Givens totaled 85 yards, which included a 65-yard reception.

For Givens, the 65-yarder made a little history. It marked the third consecutive game he's hauled in a pass for 50-plus yards, following grabs of 51 yards against Arizona and 52 yards vs. Seattle in previous weeks. 

Givens became the first Ram since Isaac Bruce in 2000 to accomplish that feat and the first NFL rookie to do so since Chicago's Willie Gault in 1983.

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ROOKIE RECORD?

What was announced Sunday as an NFL rookie record for Rams' place-kicker Greg Zuerlein turns out not to be the case.

Zuerlein made just two of five attempts against Miami, but his second field goal of the day gave him 15 consecutive successful attempts.

The field goal was said to give Zuerlein the NFL rookie record for consecutive made kicks, but it's actually No. 3 on the list. Nos. 1-2 were set in 2011, when Dallas' Dan Bailey converted 26 straight and Philadelphia's Alex Henery hit 16 in a row.

After reaching 15 consecutive, Zuerlein missed on his last three attempts Sunday, from 52, 37 and 66 yards.  

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Ramblings

Safety Craig Dahl had a team-high nine tackles against the Dolphins Sunday, according to the coaches' official post-game count. It marked the first time this season a player other than linebacker James Laurinaitis led the team. Laurinaitis had six against the Dolphins ... Fisher confirmed again Monday that there were no Rams' injuries in Sunday's game.

Jeremy is a reporter at the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @jprutherford.

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