By David Krueger Herald Writer
SEATTLE — Head referee Jeff Triplette was a busy man during Sunday afternoon’s NFC West showdown between the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams.
The two teams were whistled for a combined 19 accepted penalties for 152 yards. There were several plays with multiple fouls called that were offset, as well as one play that featured three unnecessary roughness penalties on the Rams and the ejection of St. Louis defensive tackle Kendall Langford.
“We wanted to make sure that we played with championship poise today,” said Seattle head coach Pete Carroll. “(To make) great decisions and protect our team throughout the game and make the right choices and I thought we did. … They (the Rams) get to do whatever they want to do, but we handled it the way we wanted to today.”
The Seahawks came into the game expecting to hear some trash talking by the Rams. Part of Seattle’s game plan was to utilize the aggressiveness of the St. Louis players, and even antagonize them a bit in an effort to get them to lose their cool.
With 10 unnecessary roughness penalties called — seven of which were accepted — and a taunting foul, it appears the Seahawks were successful.
“We just kept our focus. We talked all week about them coming and being chippy, trying to get flags after the play,” said Seattle receiver Ricardo Lockette, who had a pair of big tackles on special teams that fired up both teams. “That was part of our plan, to let them get upset and say whatever we got to say to them to get them upset. … Drawing penalties was part of our game plan. It turned out pretty good. Got a guy ejected and I don’t know how many yards in penalties they had.”
The Rams had 87 penalty yards, which equaled about half of their net offensive yards (158).
How did the Seahawks bait St. Louis into penalties?
“Just by talking to them. Being friendly. Telling them really sweet things,” Lockette said before laughing.
For their part, the Seahawks had seven accepted penalties for 65 yards, with only one accepted unnecessary roughness foul.
One other flag was negated by offsetting penalties.
On the other sideline, St. Louis expected an emotional battle as well.
“It’s just a division game, that always happens,” said St. Louis tight end Jared Cook. “I think every division game we played this year there was a lot of chippiness. Not as much as this one, but it was a lot. That is what happens when you play a division opponent and things get heated.”
Langford was ejected for contact with an official. He appeared to bump into an official and knocked his hat off. Langford was ejected from the game an assessed another unsportsmanlike foul after throwing his helmet to the ground.
“They’re always chippy. It’s a divisional game. It’s always like that,” Giacomini said. “We didn’t want him to get kicked out. I think he hit the ref or something. We like to go up against their best players and he’s really good. But it was pretty chippy. That always makes for a good game.”
Langford said he had his hands up and accidentally bumped into the official, who he did not know was behind him.
“Once I saw the replay when I got in the locker room, the official came up behind me, and my hands were up,” Langford said. “My hand knocked his hat off. I didn’t know I got a flag for that, let alone kicked out of the game. After I had seen it I thought it was a bad call. I don’t agree with it, and after seeing it over and over, I still don’t agree with it.”
Giacomini waved at Langford as he exited the stadium after his ejection. The offensive lineman took one shot from a Rams player which gave the Seahawks a first down.
He was happy to do it.
“I was just trying to do my job,” Giacomini said. “Sometimes those guys swing at me. I don’t know why they like to hit me. It happens. I took one today and it felt good to get a first down.”
Long considered one of the major aggressors on the Seahawks, Giacomini said he has calmed down and now helps his teammates remain peaceful during altercations on the field.
“That’s his new name, Breno the Peacekeeper,” said Seahawks tight end Zach Miller. ” … It might stick.”