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Fisher cites 'incorrect calls' against Rams

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Matt Ryan

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) is hit by St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (94) as St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long (91) looks on during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The most penalized team in the NFL a year ago, the Rams hurt themselves in Sunday’s 31-24 loss to the Falcons in Atlanta with seven yellow flags.

An offside call against defensive end Chris Long helped prolong the game’s opening drive as the Falcons went on to the game’s first touchdown. Four other infractions, on punt and kickoff returns, left the Rams with terrible field position.

But during his Monday news conference at Rams Park, head coach Jeff Fisher played down the team’s offenses.

“I’m not concerned about the penalties,’’ he said. “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.’’

The one call Fisher focused on was the early one against Long. On the play, it appeared that Long jumped after a false start by Atlanta right tackle Lester Holmes.

“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 continued: “It’s the human element in the game. There are calls that are going to be missed every week. ... Our (officiating) department’s doing the best job they can ... but there’s a mistake every once in a while.’’

Following the game, Long said he was surprised by the call, adding that the officials “will watch tape and they’ll get better, just like we will.’’

Fisher also did not agree with the special teams calls that went against the Rams.

“Last night, I was disappointed with the special teams’ performance, but looking at the tape, they got better than last week — and they were pretty good last week — because those calls should not be called. (But) the penalties weren’t necessarily the big issue; it was the kicks It was the placement of the kicks and the coverage unit.’’

Fisher agreed with the holding call against center Scott Wells and with an illegal motion false start call that went against the Rams. He also believes the officiating crew missed some infractions by Atlanta, including an intentional grounding just before halftime.

“But again, we had chances (and) we need to make plays,’’ the coach said. “By no means am I placing blame. 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.’’


Rookie linebacker Alex Ogletree led the team in tackles Sunday with nine stops, including one for loss. He also broke up a pair of passes.

Long and cornerback Janoris Jenkins had eight tackles apiece while safety Rodney McLeod finished with seven. Jenkins also broke up two passes.

Robert Quinn, named the NFL defensive player of the week after recording three sacks in Week 1, had one sack, two quarterback pressures and a team-leading five hits on Atlanta’s Matt Ryan. Long had three pressures and Eugene Sims had the club’s other sack.

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