The Rams and the NFL's penalty problem

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Perhaps you've already noticed, or maybe if you're a St. Louis Rams fan you're already numb to the constant yellow projectiles that come out during games, but penalties are up three weeks into the season.

ESPN NFL Nation columnist Kevin Seifert took a deeper dive into the league's penalty problem on Tuesday. In the first three weeks, there have been 730 accepted penalties, which is an NFL record for the first trio of games.

As the most penalized team in the league in their three years under coach Jeff Fisher (cumulative), you'd probably think the Rams are again near the top of the list. But they actually aren't.

The Rams have 17 accepted penalties over the first three weeks, which is tied with four teams for seventh-fewest in the league. Tampa Bay and Oakland, with 33 a piece, are the most penalized teams through the first three games.

The penalty problems that have persisted under Fisher -- their 375 accepted penalties in the past three years is most in the NFL -- haven't been quite as noticeable this year. What has been noticeable has been the timing of those infractions.

Fisher lamented that very thing on Monday.

"Penalties came at the wrong time," Fisher said. "Not a lot of them but at the wrong time."

For example, in Sunday's 12-6 loss to Pittsburgh, the Rams had two false start penalties inside Pittsburgh's 10 as they were going in for a potential game-winning touchdown. Those types of mistakes continue to plague the Rams even if their penalty numbers are down while the rest of the league's are up.


A roundup of Tuesday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we opened the day with a look at safety Mark Barron's hit on Ben Roethlisberger. ... We revisited three things to watch from Sunday's loss to the Steelers. ... This week's turning point play examines the interception that killed a potential game-winning drive before it began. ... The Rams stayed at No. 19 in this week's Power Rankings. ... St. Louis released running back Isaiah Pead and promoted cornerback Brandon McGee.


Ed Werder reports that Barron won't be fined for his hit on Roethlisberger.

The full version of this week's ESPN NFL Power Rankings.

Not Rams-related but if you enjoy X's and O's, this breakdown of Falcons receiver Julio Jones from Matt Bowen is excellent.

Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss gives five reasons the Cardinals can win the Super Bowl.

At 101sports.com, Randy Karraker provides his 10 takeaways from Sunday's loss.

At stltoday.com, Jim Thomas writes that Fisher believes the Rams are very close to being 3-0.