Personal foul penalties out of control

Personal foul penalties out of control
December 25, 2012, 12:45 pm
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The most heavily penalized team in the NFL, the Ravens have become the first to top 1,000 yards in deductions.

They had three personal foul calls in Sunday’s 33-14 win vs. the New York Giants, with left tackle Michael Oher being called for a chop block and receiver Torrey Smith and safety Ed Reed being called for hits to head and neck.

In all, the Ravens had 9 penalties for 92 yards though they didn't impact the outcome. They’re fourth in overall flags with 111, behind the Dallas Cowboys (116), St. Louis Rams (116) and Washington Redskins (114).

But the Cowboys have lost 847 yards to penalties, the Rams 880 and the Redskins 965. The Ravens are at 1,025 and counting with the regular-season finale at the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

That's because the Ravens lead the NFL in personal fouls with 32. 

Oher blocked a defender low when he already was engaged in a block. Smith’s hit on Giants linebacker Keith Rivers was questionable. He appeared to get in front of Rivers on the run block and put his shoulder into his chest and made no contact with his helmet.

Reed drove his shoulder into the chest of receiver Victor Cruz on a catch on the sideline. His helmet, however, did make contact with Cruz’s. Coach John Harbaugh insisted that Cruz crouched to avoid the hit which helped create the helmet-to-helmet and that it was incidental contact.

“I hope that the league really takes a look at this in the off-season and figures out a way to help the players out a little bit, because it’s been a real challenge so far this year,” Harbaugh said. “Ed was trying to do everything he could. I would say the same thing about the one on Torrey on the block-back was chest high. Our guys are really trying to do the right thing.”

Reed was suspended last month for one game for a similar hit on Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders because it was his third offense in three seasons. It was turned over on appeal and instead of losing a week’s salary ($423,000), Reed was given a warning and a $50,000 fine.

The Ravens were the 24th-most penalized team just one season ago.

“I never want to be highly-penalized. That’s something that’s not good, but you’ve got to look at each of those penalties again, individually,” Harbaugh said. “Some of them were good calls that we can do something about, and some of them weren’t, that we really can’t do anything about. “

Compared to possible AFC playoff foes: 250 yards more than the Denver Broncos, 248 more than the Indianapolis Colts, 233 more than the New England Patriots, 216 more than the Houston Texans and 208 more than the Bengals. 

The Atlanta Falcons, who have the best record in the NFC and are the league's least penalized team with 53, have lost just 400 yards because of penalties. That's a difference of 625 with the Ravens.