Jeff Fisher irked by Rams' critics, says Ravens need to 'look in the mirror'

ByNick Wagoner ESPN logo
Wednesday, November 25, 2015

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Whether it's an outright accusation or a not-so-subtle insinuation, it's become a weekly occurrence for the St. Louis Rams' latest opponent to make reference to their "dirty" approach to the game.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher apparently has grown tired of the aspersions after hearing similar criticisms from the likes of Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, NBC analyst Rodney Harrison, former Bears defensive tackle Dan Hampton and Ravens coach John Harbaugh.

Speaking on his weekly radio show on 101 ESPN in St. Louis, Fisher offered a response to Harbaugh and the Ravens.

"I'm kind of intrigued by some of the stuff -- and I can't verify it -- but the insinuations or whatever of, that we were a dirty team coming out," Fisher said. "Then I've got plays I've got to send the league office where their players are hitting us in the mouth after plays. With fists.

"It was allowed in the game because it wasn't called, and I'm not complaining. We played hard."

The Ravens had 10 penalties for 137 yards, including a roughing the passer penalty, as well as unaccepted penalties for unnecessary roughness (offsetting) and an unsportsmanlike conduct flag (declined).

It was that unnecessary roughness that really drew Fisher's ire.

"Let's go back to the Bradley Marquez catch," Fisher said. "That's a huge play for us. So Bradley is on the ground tackled and is getting up and almost going to give the ball to the official, and he almost has his neck broken because he's hit by their player. So boom, it's unnecessary roughness, but our guys are not going to put up with that, and you saw them come to his defense, which is appropriate. I had no problem with those offsetting fouls.

"But we're a dirty team, and they're hitting us two or three seconds after the play is over, and they hit Tavon [Austin] out of bounds? We had six penalties, and they averaged about 5 yards apiece. ... They need to take a look in the mirror."

Harbaugh was the latest to get involved both before and after his team's 16-13 victory over the Rams on Sunday.

Last week, Harbaugh was vague when asked if he would talk to his players about the Rams' dirty hits, saying, "We address everything. We address everything we can think of to address. We'll just leave it at that."

But Harbaugh didn't leave much open to interpretation Monday when he was asked about the physical and often chippy nature of Sunday's game.

"On that one, I saw the punter hit one of our guys dead in the back that [the officials] missed," Harbaugh told Baltimore reporters. "I saw our guy retaliate, which is not what you want to see. Then I saw a free fall out there, which is not unusual against the team we're playing."

Both teams have been penalized consistently this season. The Rams have committed 81 penalties, while Baltimore has committed 78. The Rams are 18th in penalty yards (610); the Ravens are 29th (751). Baltimore has 13 penalties for personal fouls, roughing the passer, unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct. The Rams have eight.

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