Penalties are killing the NFC East (Not you, Giants)

Here is where the NFC East compares to the rest of the league for penalties and penalty yardage:

Rank Team Penalties Penalty yards
1 Cowboys 36 238
2 Redskins 31 283
3 Steelers 31 240
4 Broncos 29 234
5 Eagles 29 233
6 Ravens 28 230
7 Colts 28 176
8 Jets 24 205
9 Lions 24 200
10 Cardinals 24 186
11 Patriots 24 163
12 Bills 24 159
13 Browns 23 195
14 Texans 23 168
15 Dolphins 23 164
16 Bears 23 158
17 Buccaneers 21 137
18 Titans 21 121
19 Rams 20 165
20 Seahawks (2 games) 20 125
21 49ers 19 188
22 Bengals 19 175
23 Jaguars 19 163
24 Giants 19 124
25 Saints 18 175
26 Vikings 18 162
27 Chargers 18 136
28 Raiders 16 102
29 Chiefs 16 98
30 Packers (2 games) 14 131
31 Panthers 14 121
32 Falcons 13 99


As you can see, the Cowboys lead the league in penalties with 36, or 12 per game.  In Week 3 against the Buccaneers, they had 15.  The biggest offender was the Dallas OL.  Four of those penalties against Tampa helped stall drives, as the offense could not move the ball all day against a bad Buccaneers defense.

The Redskins lead the league in penalty yards.  The most high profile of the penalties was of course Josh Morgan’s meltdown against the Rams, when he threw the football at Rams CB Cortland Finnegan.  That penalty moved the Redskins back from the Rams 29, which would have been a reasonable 46 yard game-tying FG attempt, way back to the Rams 44, where they instead attempted a 62 yarder that fell comically short.

Then yesterday, with one last chance to take a shot at the end zone, Fred Davis started sprinting down the field 2 seconds before the the ball was snapped, drawing a false start penalty, and while the officials were trying to sort out confusion over whether or not there would be a 10 second runoff, the Skins were hit with an unexplained unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  Those two penalties moved them from the Cincy 34 all the way back to their own 41.

The Eagles, meanwhile, almost lost to the Browns Week 1.  Mass perception will tell you that they almost lost because Michael Vick threw 4 interceptions (and that perception is correct), but lost in that slopfest of a game was the fact that the Eagles committed 14 penalties, many of which stalled drives and negated long runs by LeSean McCoy.

Here are the individual league leaders in penalties.  Note that two Cowboys (Cowboys OTs Tyron Smith and Doug Free) lead the league with 6, while DeMarcus Ware and Jason Witten each have chipped in with 4 a piece:

Player Team Penalties
Doug Free Cowboys 6
Tyron Smith Cowboys 6
Jason Witten Cowboys 4
DeMarcus Ware Cowboys 4
Marshal Yanda Ravens 4
Manuel Ramirez Broncos 4
Derek Newton Texans 4
Justin King Colts 4
Richard Marshall Dolphins 4
Evan Mathis Eagles 4
Willie Colon Steelers 4
Russell Wilson Seahawks 4

Also of note is that Eagles backup LT Demetress Bell has 3 penalties in limited action.

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  1. […] 8. Penalties are killing 3 of the 4 NFC East teams, as noted earlier in the week. […]

  2. Brian says:

    How does a QB have 4 penalties already? 4 intentional groundings? Or is it that new QB false start thing that’s getting him?

    1. He had another one Monday night, so he’s up to 5:

      4 delay of game penalties and an intentional grounding.

  3. horatius says:

    How many of them are bogus penalties?

    Like the 20 yard personal foul on Kyle Shanahan for telling the referee that the clock does not run off on a false start.

    And the phantom facemask penalty on Deangelo Hall. Take out the 35 yds, and Redskins are in the middle of the pack.

    1. Take out the 35 yards, and they still would have the most penalty yards.

  4. Jimmer says:

    I think Tyron Smith false started twice while I was reading this post…

  5. Redskins Fan says:


    It was ridiculous. The 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was on Kyle Shanahan for telling the refs to learn the rule book.

    In fact, they could indeed have thrown that flag… but only if they had offset it with one for the Bengals having too many men on the field by that point. And then the refs couldn’t count the yardage, making a tough play even worse. Pathetic, just pathetic performance for the refs. Should have been Redskins ball, on the Bengals 39 because of Fred Davis’s false start, with 7 seconds left, 2nd and 30. At 2nd and 30, there may have even been enough time for two plays with the way the Redskins were moving before the 1st down sack.

    Don’t get me wrong; I actually predicted nearly the exact outcome of the game early in the first quarter (Redskins fall behind big by half, Griffin stages a furious 2nd half comeback, ties the game late, the defense gives up a key strike, and Griffin gets sabatoged by a penalty late in the game to foil the comeback). Would have just like them to give the guy a reasonable stake.

    With the non-call on the obvious pass interference on the 15 that killed the drive before, it seemed like the refs were Cincy’s 12th man. I don’t disagree with the goaline downing or the onside kick (although I thought it couldn’t be a touchback if the recieving team is trying to advance the ball and fumbles it back into the field of play, while Robinson clearly touched the ball a foot shy of the 45 on the onside kick… a rare good call on a close play by the scrub refs), every other call (or non-call) except the WAY too obvious to ignore late hit on Griffin went the Bengals way. Pathetic, truly pathetic, performance the last two weeks by the replacements.

  6. Willgfass says:

    Raiders in the bottom 3rd of the league of penalties? Did anyone mention how weird this season has been?

  7. Jeff says:

    Jimmy, is there a site that shows the breakdown of the penalties? Like which type of penalties are called against the teams? I wouldn’t be surprised if half of Dallas’ penalties are of the pre-snap variety.

  8. brisulph says:

    Witten was REALLY twitchy yesterday… very unusual for him.

  9. youngwiz says:

    hey at least we lead the league in something. baby steps.

  10. WeNeedLinemen says:

    The Redskins are not having a good time with the replacements. Somehow a 5-yard false start penalty and a 15-yard unsportsmanlike contact penalty meritted us being moved back 25-yards.

    1. David_Does_Dallas says:

      No team is having a good time with the replacements.

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