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Saturday, October 31, 2009
Calls and effect: AFC East penalty tracker

Posted by's Tim Graham

Indianapolis Star reporter Phil Richards wrote a piece this week about the spike in roughing the passer calls thanks to the so-called Tom Brady rule.

There has been a lot of whining from defensive players and pundits. They've mocked the rule as one step closer to two-hand touch.

After Brady theatrically gestured to an official, who threw the flag on Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs for roughing, Brady's old teammate, Rodney Harrison, jokingly told Brady to take his skirt off and play like a man.

Richards noted there have been 38 roughing the passer calls so far this year, a pace that projects a 36.2 percent increase over last year's total.

The NFL doesn't differentiate a "Brady rule" penalty from any other roughing the passer call. So it's difficult to tell which flags were thrown specifically for the new rule, which protects quarterbacks from defender's lunging helmet -- or shoulder-first at a quarterback's legs (defenders are allowed to use their arms and wrap in that area).

AFC East players have been responsible for six of the 38 calls.

The Patriots lead the way, and are third in the NFL, with three roughing the passer penalties. Nose tackle Vince Wilfork and linebacker Adalius Thomas were called for it on opening night on Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards. Ty Warren was charged in Week 5 on Denver Broncos thrower Kyle Orton.

AFC East team-by-team penalties
Team Players Flagged Total Flags Accepted Yards
Buffalo Bills 35 65 55 422
New England Patriots 26 50 44 347
New York Jets 25 54 46 341
Miami Dolphins 23 42 36 298

Buffalo has been whistled twice: linebacker Kawika Mitchell in Week 2 and defensive lineman Spencer Johnson last Sunday.

Miami Dolphins defensive end Kendall Langford has his team's only roughing call. His came in Week 4.

The New York Jets have not been called for roughing the passer, which is noteworthy given how often they blitz.

AFC East Penalty Tracker
Player Team Pos. Flagged* Yards
Will Allen Dolphins CB 5 69
Mark Sanchez Jets QB 6 57
Logan Mankins Patriots LG 5 41
D'Brickashaw Ferguson Jets LT 4 35
Geoff Hangartner Bills C 3 30
Kawika Mitchell Bills LB 2 30
Jairus Byrd Bills S 3 28
Demetrius Bell Bills LT 9 27
Eric Wood Bills LG 5 25
Stephen Neal Patriots RG 4 25
Jake Grove Dolphins C 4 24
Chris Baker Patriots TE 3 21
Shawn Nelson Bills TE 3 21
Tom Brady Patriots QB 4 20
Dan Koppen Patriots C 4 20
Andy Levitre Bills RG 3 20
Vince Wilfork Patriots DT 3 20
*Includes declined and offsetting penalties