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Calls and Effect: AFC East penalty tracker

11/14/2009

While their divisional rivals were mostly disciplined in Week 3, the Buffalo Bills shot to the top of the AFC East penalty tracker with Sunday's sloppy loss to the New Orleans Saints.

The Bills committed 14 penalties. A dozen of them were accepted for 116 yards.

Through three games, they've sustained 242 yards in penalties, 82 yards more than the division's No. 2 transgressors, the New York Jets.

The Bills aren't good enough to give away that many yards. Particularly troubling is that they've been whistled for six majors (sorry for the hockey term): two unsportsmanlike conducts, two facemasks, one roughing the passer and one unnecessary roughness. The rest of the division combined has been called for seven such penalties.

Penalties are even more costly when you're shorthanded. The Bills have suffered heavy losses because of injuries. They will go into Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins in Land Shark Stadium minus at least four starters from their defense.

But maybe their flags will decrease without left tackle Demetrius Bell in the lineup. He's out because of a groin injury. Bell has been flagged six times, twice as often as anybody else in the AFC East.

The Jets deserve a commendation for last week's three-penalty performance in beating the Tennessee Titans. The Jets went into Week 3 having been flagged the most in the division.

But the Jets must be concerned with where the penalties are occurring. Nine of their 21 accepted penalties have been committed by their veteran offensive line.

The Miami Dolphins had a disorderly week by their standards. They committed seven penalties, but only one went for 10 yards. Twelve of their 15 accepted penalties have been for 5 yards or less.