You’ve heard Seahawks coach Pete Carroll comment on a couple of difference occasions in the last few weeks on Seattle’s penalty situation, seeming to do so a bit more openly each time.
After Thursday night’s game at San Francisco, when Seattle was called for 14 penalties and the 49ers just three, Carroll said specifically that:
“The cavern between our penalties and their penalties, again. All I can tell you is we’re working at it. We’re playing really hard and really aggressive, so it’s kind of like last year. We were pretty good at leading (the NFL) last year, too, in penalties. You’ve got to be first in something, I guess, so that’s what it is.
“The only thing is I wish they called some penalties on the other guys. We’ve got our own problems on one side, but I just wish they called some on the other guys. I think it was three or four tonight so again, the cavern grows wider.”
Indeed, Seattle has now been called for 102 penalties — which is tied with Tampa Bay for the most in the NFL — while its opponents have been called for just 51, the fewest by far (the Jets are next at 63).
Seattle has now been called for seven or more penalties in all but two games (Green Bay, 4; Giants, 6) while its opponents have been called for more than seven just once (Green Bay, 8).
As you can see when I post the name of the head ref each week, the the officials calling Seattle’s game changes every game.
Carroll has floated the idea that good teams tend to get the short stick of the penalty situation, for whatever reason, recalling that his USC teams, once they got good, also tended to have a wide penalty disparity.
For most of the season, Seattle at least had a partner in frustration in the Denver Broncos, who for much of the year have had a similar penalty disparity.
But on Sunday Denver was called for the same amount of penalties as the Chiefs — five each.
So Seattle now has by far the largest penalty disparity in the NFL at mius-51, followed by Denver at minus-33 and New England at minus-27 (these numbers are all courtesy of NFLPenalties.com).
That those are three teams that all are legit Super Bowl contenders may make Carroll’s point about officials taking an extra hard look at good teams. It also speaks to what Carroll has often said, that penalties aren’t necessarily a big deal in determining a team’s success.
Still, it’s undoubtedly frustrating for the Seahawks and their fans.
As Carroll said Thursday, his issue remains not so much the penalties called on the Seahawks but the lack of those called on opponents. As he said then, Seattle has some issues it needs to get cleaned up penalty-wise.
Seattle’s biggest issue remains false starts — the Seahawks lead the NFL with 20 (again, interestingly enough, right on Seattle’s heels are Denver and New England with 19 each).
Seattle also has been called for offensive holding 16 times, which is among the most in the NFL.
The Seahawks also have two players getting called for penalties at a pretty high clip — Michael Bennett, who has 11, and Tharold Simon, who has 10 (the latter having played just 192 snaps).
Carroll, asked yesterday if there was a common thread to Simon’s penalties, said simply that “I need to solve that common thread” and that “I just need to do a better job of helping him.”
As Carroll has also noted, Seattle won the Super Bowl last season also leading the NFL in penalties. It’s sot of looking now like that will be another thing Seattle will be forced to try to repeat this season.
And if you want to delve even more into Seattle’s penalty disparity, here you go.
For now, a few other links. …
— I looked a little bit at how pace of play could impact Sunday’s game for Tuesday’s paper.
— Here’s an early look at the matchup from a Philly perspective.
— Will Mark Sanchez dare to throw at Richard Sherman?
— A look at the Seahawks from a Philly perspective.
— Some thoughts on how the Eagles’ offense will attack the Seattle defense.
— Some Eagles’ links.
— Arizona continuing to get hit with injuries as Tyrann Mathieu will now be out for a few weeks, sounding as if he might miss the game against Seattle Dec. 21.