Notebook: Personal foul penalties costly to Seahawks
Breno Giacomini called for two big penalties
Seattle Times staff reporter
ST. LOUIS — The number of penalties wasn't necessarily the problem for Seattle on Sunday.
The Seahawks were penalized five times, matching their fewest in any of their past 20 regular-season games.
The issue was three personal fouls, which cost Seattle both momentum and a total of 45 yards. Two of those came on consecutive plays in the second quarter when defensive end Chris Clemons was called for shoving a St. Louis player on the sideline after Richard Sherman's interception.
Running back Marshawn Lynch gained 10 yards on the next play, but offensive tackle Breno Giacomini was called for a personal foul, costing Seattle 15 yards. The Seahawks punted three plays later.
Giacomini also was called for a personal foul on Seattle's last possession, and while it didn't cost the Seahawks a first down, it essentially hit reset on the drive by pushing Seattle back 15 yards after it had picked up a first down.
"He's a total maximum-effort guy," coach Pete Carroll said of Giacomini, "and sometimes it's getting the best of him. He just has to be more careful with it. We love the way he fights and competes, but if we're getting flagged then we're wrong. We have to fix that."
Giacomini didn't disagree with that assessment.
"I've just got to play smarter," he said. "Marshawn is a back that doesn't stop so I'm not going to stop until he stops. I've just got to gauge it a little bit better. Those are my penalties so it's my fault, but I'm not going to stop playing the way that I'm playing just because of the backs we have, but I've got to play smarter."
Seattle entered the game with a league-high 32 penalties, and co-captain Max Unger said the regular officials made it very clear that contact after the play was going to be monitored.
"They made a point to say, 'Any exchange, we're going to throw a flag on just to get rid of it,' " Unger said. "A lot of real close calls, and we just had too many penalties at the end."
back to work
James Carpenter started at left guard, his first game back in his return from a severe knee injury suffered last November.
Carpenter was Seattle's first-round draft choice last year, and he's moving from tackle to left guard, which is where Paul McQuistan had been playing.
McQuistan started at right guard Sunday with John Moffitt out because of a knee injury.
Carpenter's return seemed in jeopardy in the first quarter when he left the game after suffering an injury to his right knee, which is not the one he injured last year. McQuistan moved back to left guard and rookie J.R. Sweezy stepped in at right guard until Carpenter returned at left guard the next series.
What the Hekker?
Rams receiver Danny Amendola must not have known that punter Johnny Hekker played quarterback at Bothell High School. After catching a 2-yard touchdown pass from Hekker on a fake field goal, Amendola offered a compliment despite a lollipop of a throw.
"He's an athlete," Amendola said. "I learned that today, I guess."
A pretty good athlete, actually. Hekker was the quarterback at Bothell, which played for the state championship in consecutive seasons. He also played basketball before going on to punt at Oregon State. He made the Rams squad as an undrafted rookie, and now has a touchdown pass.
"It was just a nice, easy throw," Hekker said. "I thought I might have overthrown it for a second, but it came down and he caught it."
Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein made a 58-yard field goal in the first quarter, which was the longest field goal ever by a Seahawks opponent.
At least it was until the third quarter when Rams coach Jeff Fisher called for a 60-yard attempt — much to the surprise of one coach who piped up in Fisher's headset.
"Somebody said 'Field goal?' " Fisher said.
"Yeah," Fisher responded. "It's only 60. It's well within his range."
Yes it was. Zuerlein's 60-yard field goal was the longest in Rams history.
• Rams RB Steven Jackson started after being listed as questionable. He gained 55 yards on 18 carries, and has never rushed for 100 yards against the Seahawks in his nine seasons.
• Seattle LB Leroy Hill played despite being questionable with a strained calf. He came off in nickel situations, replaced by Malcolm Smith and Mike Morgan.
• Seattle's inactive players: WR Charly Martin, SS Winston Guy, CB Danny Gorrer, CB Byron Maxwell, G John Moffitt, DT Jaye Howard, DE Greg Scruggs.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.