NFL says Tharold Simon penalty was wrong

RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the league office told him the wrong call was made when cornerback Tharold Simon was flagged for illegal contact Friday night in the 41-14 victory over the San Diego Chargers.

Simon made an interception in the end zone and returned it 103 yards for what he thought was a pick-six. But a flag was thrown for making contact beyond five yards.

The Seahawks and the fans at CenturyLink Field were furious about the call, believing Simon made a perfect play with incidental contact in the end zone. But the officials have made a point during the preseason on emphasizing illegal contact and defensive holding.

"On Tharold, the league came back and said it was not a penalty," Carroll said Monday on 710 ESPN Seattle. "I don't blame the officiating, because the emphasis on these rules was clear and they've done that. They are calling contact [penalties] that would have been incidental in the past. It's an elevated number. Contact penalties are up seven times as much [as a year ago] in a mock study we did."

Carroll thinks the pendulum will swing back a little in the other direction before the regular season starts.

"What's curious now to see how the league reacts the next two weeks [of the preseason]," he said. "The Saints game [last weekend] had 20-something penalties. We can't have that. That's a bad game to watch. We just have to work through it."