A week after getting a crew that calls fewer penalties than just about in the NFL, the Seahawks could see more flags thrown Sunday night against Carolina.
What became something of a subplot to Seattle’s 14-5 loss to Tampa Bay last week was the officiating crew led by Bill Vinovich.
And not just the review that led to the safety that basically gave the Seahawks every point they got in the game, but also what coach Pete Carroll mentioned later about understanding that Vinovich’s crew typically calls as few penalties as any in the NFL, and that they expected their game to be called accordingly.
In fact, according to Pro Football Reference, Vinovich’s crew calls 3.52 penalties fewer per game than the league average of 13.81, which also results in 35.11 fewer penalty yards per game (this is combined, for both teams).
That’s basically what happened Sunday as Seattle and the Bucs combined for nine penalties for 95 yards (the league average in combined penalty yards is 119.2) with the Seahawks getting called for a season-low two penalties for a season-low 2 yards.
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One play where the “let ’em play” nature of Vinovich’s crew may have been most noticeable was Tampa Bay’s second touchdown, a 23-yard pass from Jameis Winston to Mike Evans that included some hand-fighting and jostling for position by both players — possibly enough for either to be called for something, depending on the crew, but which in this case was allowed with no flag.
Sherman said Carroll had told the team what to expect, but said players also never know for sure what will happen.
“Yeah they tell us pretty early in the week who the crew is,” Sherman said. “They could call the least penalties in the league and then call you for 10 in a game, 15 in a game. Or they could call the most in the league and call two. Every crew is different, especially when dealing with us.”
Sunday, though, the crew called it according to form.
And if that holds true this week, then the Seahawks can expect to see a few more flags.
The head ref this week is John Parry, according to FootballZebras.com, and while his crew is not at the top of the list of flag throwers, he’s been above average this year — according to Pro Football Reference, Parry’s crew has called 1.82 penalties more per game than league average, with 13.20 more penalty yards per game than league average.
Last week’s game helped drop Seattle to 10th in most penalties called this season, an average of 7.5 per game. Seattle’s opponents are being called for 6.6 per game, ninth-fewest.