The flags were flying Sunday inside Ford Field, and nearly all of them were thrown in the Panthers’ direction.
Carolina was penalized 11 times for 100 yards in the 27-24 victory at Detroit. In the four previous games, the Panthers had a total of 13 penalties for 118 yards.
The Panthers are still the league’s least-penalized team, although their average jumped from 3.3 penalties per game to 4.8.
The calls against the Lions ranged from having 12 men in the huddle (twice), two pass interference calls against cornerback Daryl Worley, unnecessary roughness vs. left tackle Matt Kalil and facemask flags on linebackers Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson on successive plays.
The calls vs. Kuechly and Thompson were followed by Worley’s second pass interference, all of which helped set up the Lions’ first touchdown.
“I thought we were very aggressive early on and it cost us,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “We had a couple of aggressive penalties. But we can’t expect to move the ball consistently if we’re going to shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Rivera was also concerned with the miscommunication that caused the offense twice to have an extra man in the huddle, saying those types of mistakes fall on him.
The Lions had only one accepted penalty, for 10 yards.
But Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly didn’t complain about the disparity in calls.
“If you grab a guy’s facemask it’s a penalty. That stuff’s pretty straightforward and I’ve got to avoid grabbing the guy’s mask because it’s a big penalty,” Kuechly said. “We try to avoid penalties because they kill drives and they extend drives.”