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Officials called five roughing the passer penalties in Week Four

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: A detail of a penalty flag during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)

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After the NFL issued a statement about the roughing the passer rule last week and released a video “illustrating clear examples of permissible and impermissible contact on the quarterback,” many wondered how officials would call games during Week Four.

The Chiefs and Broncos played the final game of the week on Monday night and the answer was that they threw flags for roughing less often than they did in the first three weeks. There were five roughing the passer penalties over 15 games after 34 of them were called in the first 48 games of the year.

NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said that the league did not tell officials to call fewer penalties, but did ask them “to see the whole play” when assessing whether a flag should be thrown. Vincent said he believed there were multiple reasons for the change.

“Some people would say, ‘What’s the reason?’” Vincent said to Mark Maske of the Washington Post. “I would say it’s a combination of coaching points, officiating mechanics and player adjustments. It was all of those. I don’t think it was any one thing.”

The drop in flags and absence of controversy about defenders putting body weight on quarterbacks doesn’t mean the weekend was without questionable roughing calls. Raiders defensive end Arden Key was flagged after making minimal contact with Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, but Vincent said Key made contact with Mayfield’s helmet and that made the call “okay” with him.