It was an uninspiring day to be a St. Louis Rams fan on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Carolina was able to toy with the Rams’ emotions all day long taunting them into five personal foul calls in the second half. Robert Quinn‘s hit on unsuspecting quarterback Cam Newton after a handoff to DeAngelo Williams started the biggest scrum of the day. The Newton caused Carolina left tackle Jordan Gross to lock up Quinn on the next play by the facemask and the two exchanged some heated words. After a brief chat, both sides started pushing and shoving until everyone including the refs were in the middle of it all.
Chris Long was the lone player penalized and ejected for throwing a punch during the exchange. St. Louis players agreed that they got what they deserved in penalties but were left wondering how Carolina received nothing. It’s the simple rule of refereeing 101; the retaliation always gets caught. You see it in every sport at every level. The instigator is almost never punished, but the person that retaliates to a cheap shot almost always does. You still have to wonder how in the heck Carolina got away with all of the pushing and shoving that they committed. Long couldn’t have been the lone suspect during the breakout. In most situations where a fight breaks out, both teams are assessed penalties that cancel each other out. Carolina apparently got the home-field advantage.
After Bradford was injured while being pushed out of bounds by Carolina’s free agent acquisition Mike Mitchell, Harvey Dahl seemingly lost his mind. An offensive lineman has to protect his QB without a doubt. After Dahl realized Bradford was down he sprinted to Mitchell and then did the same thing on the very next play. Dahl should have been sat out after the first incident to cool down. Once you become that emotional you are no longer effective. Linemen do have to think and pick up blitz and know what their job is on each play. Once someone starts to gun for another player their mind is not what’s best for the team.
Then you have Janoris Jenkins chasing Steve Smith around all day. Jenkins has struggled against the elite receivers that the Rams have faced all year long. As a rookie he made some mistakes taking chances, but he was rewarded by forcing turnovers. This year he has failed to really force turnovers. The interception he made against the Houston Texans was basically thrown into his chest. St. Louis has struggled to stop the pass all year long starting with the injured Cortland Finnegan and Jenkins. Jenkins should have known that Smith doesn’t get thrown off of his game by trash talk. It only fueled the fire in Smith as he got better with each argument. Smith got cockier each time he beat Jenkins for a reception, most notably when he crossed the goal line and mocked Jenkins.
From the Panthers’ Captain Munnerlyn‘s point of view, he didn’t think his team did anything wrong during the skirmishes. He said: “They caused all of them.” Typically when a team loses its temper over and over, there is a pretty good reason for it. I’m sure the Panthers enjoyed watching St. Louis fall apart in the second half. Carolina undoubtedly is feeling good about themselves, and the Rams have to act more professional on the field no matter what is being said to them. Being emotional during a game is going to happen, but you have to be able to control your thoughts and emotions or you lose any chance at being productive for your team. St. Louis will probably see a few fines to go along with the loss of Bradford and the game. This is a self-induced learning experience for everyone on the team.