ST. LOUIS -- Four weeks into the 2013 season, St. Louis Rams fans had no shortage of reasons to be frustrated. While the offense struggled to score points and the defense struggled to stop opponents from scoring them, the special teams drew particular ire for an amazing knack for racking up penalties.
Field position regularly favored Rams opponents early on and the Rams set a record-breaking pace for special teams infractions. The amount of penalties would yield plenty of options to choose from but perhaps none signified the Rams' struggles in this area more than a Week 3 punt return from rookie Tavon Austin.
Trailing Dallas 17-0 early in the third quarter, Austin received a punt at the Rams' 16 and weaved his way 84 yards for a would-be touchdown. Of course, before Austin really ever got going, the all too familiar yellow flag had already been thrown for holding on cornerback Brandon McGee. Safety T.J. McDonald was soon penalized for throwing an illegal blindside block and any hopes of a potential game-altering play vanished.
Even Austin knew it the moment he reached the end zone, dropping to the ground in exasperation.
The special teams' penalty problems would persist a bit longer, eventually reaching maximum frustration for Austin in a win against Jacksonville in Week 5 as Austin quickly exited the locker room with eye black still on soon after it was over.
The Rams would eventually get the special teams penalty problem corrected but the issue was a major factor in the team's 1-3 start.