Morning Ram-blings: A questionable call

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers was already on the sideline before he realized he'd been called for a roughing the passer penalty late in Sunday's win against the Chicago Bears.

Brockers had just burst through the middle and dropped Bears quarterback Josh McCown with a vicious, but clean hit, and the Rams appeared poised to have another goal-line stand to help seal the win.

"I got most of my explanation from my teammates on the sideline," Brockers said. "I didn’t even know it was a roughing the passer until I got to the sideline. But I was thinking about it, I was like what are you going to do? It was a bang-bang play."

In the official pool report after the game, referee Jerome Boger said the penalty was called because in his view Brockers led with his head and put it into McCown's chest. Replays showed Brockers' head clearly to the side of McCown as he completed the tackle.

"When I got to the sidelines they were like ‘That’s roughing the passer,’" Brockers said. "I was like ‘Really?’ I thought I hit him clean but hey, I’m lost for words. It is what it is, I just go on to the next one. If I get fined, I’ll just appeal it and explain what I was thinking on that play."

Brockers was quick to point out that he didn't let the call bother him, and that it wasn't much of a big deal because the Rams went on to score the game's final 14 points and come away with a 42-21 victory. That's a far cry from a week ago when a questionable penalty was called on San Francisco linebacker Ahmad Brooks for a hit on New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees.

The penalty on Brooks led to a a win for the Saints, which then spurred plenty of controversy. Because Brockers' penalty didn't change the game, it's unlikely it will receiver similar attention, but it probably should.

Protecting the players and creating a safe environment is a worthy cause, but as the questionable calls continue to pile up, something has to change to allow defenders to play without having to worry about picking up costly penalties.


A roundup of the weekend's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... On Saturday, we provided a news story on the Rams' placing cornerback Cortland Finnegan on injured reserve with an eye injury. ... After the game, it was time for Rapid Reaction, a quick look at the Rams' victory against the Bears. ... We also offered a quick news story with injury updates on the three Rams who left the game with head injuries. ... We revisited three things to watch from Saturday with a look at how the Rams fared in those key areas of the game. ... Next, it was a breakdown of the emergence of Benny Cunningham as a solid No. 2 to starter behind Zac Stacy at running back. ... Finally, we explored the Rams' resilience and ability to finish the Bears off after it appeared things were turning against them.


ESPNChicago Bears reporters Michael C. Wright and Jeff Dickerson break down Sunday's proceedings.

Wright writes about the Bears' atrocious run defense, saying they are creating a reputation that will have teams running on them regularly.

Cary Chow and Tom Waddle offer their take on the Rams' win.

At stltoday.com, columnist Jeff Gordon gives the Rams high marks for their effort against the Bears.

Jim Thomas' running game story provides all the details of the Rams' win.

Turf Show Times offers its instant thoughts from the Rams' win.

The Associated Press also offered a take on this one.