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Tuesday, January 8, 2013
NFC West penalty watch: A big surprise

By Mike Sando

Officials flagged the Seattle Seahawks for illegal contact an NFL-high eight times in 2011.

That comes as no surprise to those familiar with the aggressive, controversial tactics Seattle's big cornerbacks employ.

Here is the surprise: Brandon Browner's penalty for illegal contact during the Seahawks' 24-14 playoff victory Sunday was just the second of its kind against Seattle all season.

Officials also flagged cornerback Jeremy Lane for illegal contact in Week 17.

The Seahawks' divisional-round playoff opponent, Atlanta, incurred a league-low 68 penalties this season, counting declined ones. But even the Falcons suffered more penalties for illegal contact (two) than the Seahawks incurred during the regular season.

Seattle also reduced its penalties for defensive pass interference from last season. Those dropped from 10 last season to five this season.

The chart ranks NFC West teams and their divisional-round opponents by fewest accepted and declined penalties during the regular season.