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Flag issue persists for Bucs, the NFL’s most-penalized team

The Bucs have been flagged 47 times for 471 yards through six games.
Bucs coach Bruce Arians' team was penalized seven times for 120 yards in Thursday night's 28-22 victory against the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Bucs coach Bruce Arians' team was penalized seven times for 120 yards in Thursday night's 28-22 victory against the Eagles in Philadelphia. [ MATT ROURKE | Associated Press ]
Published Oct. 19
Updated Oct. 19

TAMPA — A year and change have elapsed since the Bucs, fresh off an abysmal Thursday night performance against the Bears, made a concerted effort to clean up their flag-strewn performances.

Fifty-four weeks later, another cleaning session — a deep-cleaning one — is in order.

Six games into 2021, the Bucs, who played nearly penalty-free down the stretch of their Super Bowl title season, are the NFL’s most-penalized team. Their 471 penalty yards lead the league, and their 47 infractions are tied for second.

In Thursday night’s 28-22 road win against the Eagles, a pair of pass-interference penalties — of 45 and 50 yards, respectively — led to two Philadelphia touchdowns.

“I was not pleased with the number of mental errors we had in that game on the road, again,” coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday. “Obviously three critical penalties (including a defensive holding whistle against cornerback Dee Delaney at the goal line), so there’s things we have to correct before it ends up costing us a game.”

While the interference penalties Thursday were costly, pre-snap infractions remain chronic. The Bucs are averaging more than three pre-snap penalties a game and were whistled for consecutive false starts inside the red zone (against tackle Donovan Smith and receiver Antonio Brown) in a Week Five home win against the Dolphins.

“You can’t get fatigued and have the pre-snap penalties,” tight end O.J. Howard said.

“Post-snap (penalties) are going to happen when you play hard, play fast, but just the little things like pre-snap, we’ve got to kind of eliminate those. You don’t want to ever put yourself at a disadvantage already when it’s hard enough to score in the league anyway.”

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls

Related: Bucs safety Antoine Winfield Jr. remains in concussion protocol

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