Patriots make positive penalty strides

Pete Morelli’s officiating crew averages the fewest penalties called this season, and that played to form when the Patriots visited the Saints on Monday night.

With Morelli’s crew working the game, the Patriots didn’t have an accepted penalty. Tom Brady intentional grounding penalty was offset by a Saints defensive holding call, while an illegal formation penalty on Nick Kaczur was declined.

On the season, the Patriots have 59 accepted penalties. The average of 5.36 accepted penalties per game ranks as the seventh fewest among NFL teams, with the Patriots jumping seven spots from last week.

Here is the Patriots penalty leaderboard, which includes declined and offsetting infractions:

Penalty leaders:

QB Tom Brady – 7

G Logan Mankins – 6

C Dan Koppen – 5

G Stephen Neal – 5

CB Leigh Bodden – 4

TE Chris Baker – 3

CB Darius Butler – 3

S Bret Lockett – 3

OLB Adalius Thomas – 3

Penalty count:

False start – 11

Holding (offense) -- 8

Delay of game (offense) – 6

Pass interference (defense) -- 4

Roughing the passer – 4

Holding (defense) – 3

Offside (defense) – 3

Pass interference (offense) – 3