A weekly look at what the New England Patriots must fix:
With 79 accepted penalties, the Patriots are on pace to shatter the record for most accepted penalties in a season under coach Bill Belichick. Coming off the bye, this is an area Belichick has, naturally, identified as one that has to improve.
"I think it just creates more opportunities for our opponents," Belichick said this week. "It gives them extra plays on defensive penalties, and it negates yardage on offense and puts us in long yardage. We’ve been able to overcome a few of them, but they’ve also gotten us into a lot of trouble. In the long run, it’s certainly not the way we want to go. We want to try to play penalty-free and take advantage of extra opportunities that our opponents give us and not give them to them.
"We’re going to continue to work hard on it. It’s certainly an area that hasn’t been good for us over the course of the first nine games, and we’re trying hard to correct it. I think if we don’t correct it, it’s going to cost us, so we’re going to do all we can to coach it better and hopefully play it better."
The past two Super Bowl champions, Baltimore and Seattle, were among the league's most penalized clubs.
That serves as a reminder that a high penalty total isn't always a bad thing. But more than anything, the Patriots know they have to clean up some of the bad penalties that are a result of a lack of focus, such as false starts.