NFC West Penalty Watch: Okung's triple

NFL officials flagged Seattle Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung three times in 10 games last season.

OkungOkungThey matched that total against Okung in the 2011 opener at Candlestick Park.

The high total confirms in my mind the thinking that Okung wasn't quite up to speed in his first game back from an ankle injury. He was also facing a very strong San Francisco 49ers defensive front featuring Justin Smith, who had two sacks. One penalty was declined. Another was offsetting.

Facing the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2 will present similar challenges (insert Bill Leavy joke here). Even though the Steelers struggled in their opening-week defeat at Baltimore, their defense was instrumental in drawing three penalties against the Ravens' offensive line. Officials flagged center Matt Birk, guard Ben Grubbs and tackle Bryant McKinnie for holding in that game.

Officials flagged Okung for holding (twice) and a false start. Okung's three penalties last season were for false starts, with two coming during the second half of a 34-18 home defeat against Atlanta in Week 15.

The first chart shows three-year totals for NFC West teams, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Totals count declined penalties.

The Oakland Raiders have the most during that time with 320, counting a league-high 17 in Week 1. The 49ers rank sixth with 260, followed by the Arizona Cardinals (254) and St. Louis Rams (254). The Seahawks are 15th with 234. The Falcons (176), Indianapolis Colts (177) and Jacksonville Jaguars (184) have the fewest.

Officials have flagged NFC West teams 999 times, more than they've flagged teams from any other division. AFC East teams have drawn the fewest (828).


2009-2011 NFC West Penalty Counts

The second chart shows NFC West individual leaders for 2011. Officials have flagged five players from the division more than once.


2011 NFC West Penalty Leaders