The disparity in the number of flags thrown in Sunday's overtime loss to the Saints -- the Bucs drew 15, the host Saints just six -- was enough that Lovie Smith wondered aloud how rare such a large difference is.
"Normally, one team doesn't get penalized 15 times and the other team six though," Smith said again Monday. "There was a lot of stuff going on."
How rare is such a disparity? Only three other times in the Bucs' 39 seasons has there been such a large difference against Tampa Bay -- in a 2005 game, the Bucs had 13 flags, the Bills 3; in 1996, the Bucs had a 14-2 edge in flags on the Cardinals, and in 1981, the Bucs were outflagged 14-3 against the Bears. Fittingly, there also have been three games where the Bucs drew at least nine fewer flags than their opponents, most recently in 2002.
And league-wide, Sunday was just the fourth time in the past seven years that any NFL team had at least 15 penalties while its opponent had six or fewer. Of course, Smith should be familiar with one of them -- in 2010, his Chicago Bears pulled out a 20-17 home victory against the Packers, who were flagged 18 times while the Bears drew only five flags.