The Patriots were docked 55 yards thanks to seven penalties during Sunday's loss to the Panthers, 33-30. But it wasn't necessarily the sum of the yards they gave up that hurt them, it was the timing.
- Curran: What we have here is a lack of communication
- Gilmore finds himself in tight corner after string of crucial mistakes
- Patriots aren't home warriors anymore
- Brady: Boger's officiating crew overeager with penalty calls against Pats
Three plays in particular stick out:
1) Stephon Gilmore's first hands-to-the-face penalty came on a third-and-eight play in the third quarter, giving Carolina an automatic first down and extending the drive that eventually ended in a 16-yard touchdown pass to Devin Funchess.
2) Gilmore's second hands-to-the-face penalty, which nullified a third-down sack by Deatrich Wise that would have ended Carolina's game-winning drive before it even approached midfield.
3) On the same drive, moments later, Patrick Chung was called for defensive holding, getting the Panthers to the Patriots 34-yard line and allowing Cam Newton to plow into the line twice to set up Graham Gano's winning kick.
When Bill Belichick was asked during a conference call on Monday if Gilmore needs to be cleaner with his technique at the line of scrimmage, he spoke in more general terms.
"We need fewer penalties, period," Belichick said. "We had too many of them all throughout the game in multiple areas. It doesn't really matter what we think. It only matters what the guy who has the flags thinks. We have to do a better job of coaching and playing in a way we don't get penalized."
If Belichick didn't agree with the hands-to-the-face calls, he wouldn't be the only one with questions for Jerome Boger's crew after the game. Tom Brady told WEEI on Monday morning that he felt the officials were a little flag-happy.
For the season, the Patriots have been penalized 27 times -- not including one declined penalty and one offsetting -- which places them near the top-third of the league in terms of staying out of trouble. Only 11 teams have had fewer penalties called. In terms of penalty yardage, however, the Patriots are closer to the bottom of the league. They've given up 245 penalty yards in four games, tied for 20th.