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Thursday, November 8, 2012
NFC West penalty Watch: Saintly 49ers?

By Mike Sando

Jim Harbaugh and San Francisco's coaching staff will like what they see in the penalty chart: 13 NFC West players with at least five infractions, and only one of them playing for the 49ers.

Seattle's starting offensive tackles, Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini, have combined for 18 accepted and declined penalties. The Atlanta Falcons -- all of them, not just the tackles -- have committed 34.

Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner, who led the NFL with 19 penalties on his way to a Pro Bowl last season, has eight through nine games this season.

Arizona leads the NFC West in penalties with 72, fourth-most in the league.

Seattle, after committing 36 penalties in three games with replacement officials, has averaged only 5.5 per game since then. The drop of 6.5 per game is easily the largest in the NFL, followed by a 5.0 drop by Dallas and a 3.7 drop by Pittsburgh.

The Seahawks are committing the fourth-fewest penalties per game under regular officials.

The Rams are committing an additional 3.3 penalties per game under non-replacement officials, the largest gain. The Cardinals have averaged eight penalties per game with and without replacements.

Factors beyond the status of officials come into play.