St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher and Ravens coach John Harbaugh probably won't be exchanging Christmas cards this holiday season.
In response to Harbaugh's comment Monday suggesting that the Rams are regular participants in extracurricular activity, Fisher said the Ravens "need to take a look in the mirror" on his weekly ESPN 101 radio show.
"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, according to ESPN.com and other reports. "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."
This isn't the first time Fisher had to defend his players amid accusations that the Rams are a dirty team. Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and NBC analyst and longtime NFL safety Rodney Harrison were also critical of Fisher or his team's style of play this season.
Harbaugh's comment came after he was asked Monday to go over the 10 penalties for 137 yards called on the Ravens during their 16-13 victory over the Rams. Harbaugh went through them one-by-one, and acknowledged where he felt that his players were in the wrong on several of them, including safety Terrence Brooks' hit out of bounds on Rams return man Tavon Austin. He called Brooks' hit "unacceptable."
However, in discussing the late third-quarter Rams punt in which three Ravens were flagged for penalties, Harbaugh had issues with St. Louis punter Johnny Hekker hitting safety Will Hill from behind well away from the play. Hekker wasn't called for a penalty, while the Ravens' Anthony Levine (illegal block), Kyle Juszczyk (unsportsmanlike conduct) and Brynden Trawick (holding) were.
"I saw the punter hit one of our guys dead in the back that they missed," Harbaugh said. "I saw our guy retaliate, which is not what you want to see. Then I saw a free-for-all out there, which is not unusual against the team we were playing."
Fisher was clearly not amused when learning of Harbaugh's comment.
"We're a dirty team and they're hitting us two or three seconds after the play is over, and they hit Tavon out of bounds? We had six penalties and they averaged about 5 yards apiece. ... They need to take a look in the mirror," Fisher reportedly said.
The Ravens currently rank 24th in the league with 78 penalties and they are 29th with 751 penalty yards.