Saturday, December 8, 2012
NFC West penalty watch: 49ers' complaints
By Mike Sando
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh made headlines after Week 7 for asking the NFL whether Seattle's cornerbacks were playing too aggressively.
Seven weeks later, he might want to ask the league whether officials have anything against his own team.
The 49ers are averaging 9.6 accepted and declined penalties per game since defeating the Seahawks in that Week 7 game. Only St. Louis (10.6) has averaged more penalties per game over that period.
San Francisco averaged 6.9 penalties per game previously. The team was tied for the 11th-fewest penalties in the NFL through Week 6.
The chart shows holding penalties accounting for an additional two total penalties per game. The 49ers have been averaging fewer penalties for defensive pass interference and tripping in particular, but not enough to offset gains in other areas.
"That’s something that we’ve got to get a lasso around real quick," offensive coordinator Greg Roman told reporters this week. "49er football is smart, tough, opportunistic football, and penalties certainly don’t fit into that equation.
"We just had too many of them. Some of them we personally didn’t agree with and are just looking for some explanation on, and hopefully we can learn from that and move on."
Mike Iupati (four), C.J. Spillman (three), Aldon Smith (three), Chris Culliver (three) and Ahmad Brooks (three) have the most penalties among 49ers players from Week 8 to present.
Spillman (four), Dashon Goldson (four), Joe Staley (four) and Carlos Rogers (four) had the most among 49ers players through Week 7.
Meanwhile, officials have called fewer penalties per game against Seattle's defensive backs since Harbaugh commented on their play. The average has dropped from 3.3 penalties per game to 2.0 per game.