Tom Brady is not used to his team sabotaging itself with penalties.
In 326 career games with the Patriots (including postseason), only 17 times did the Patriots have more than 100 yards in penalties (12-5 record). Conversely, they had 20 games with 10 or fewer penalty yards, including five games with zero (most recently the 2018 regular-season win over the Chiefs).
But Brady is now seeing what it’s like to play for a team whose coach doesn’t have meticulous attention to detail. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lead the NFL with 49 flags thrown this year, and are second with 410 penalty yards. Twice already they have gone over 100 penalty yards, and Brady went ballistic in last Thursday’s loss to the Bears when the Bucs committed five penalties on one drive.
Last year, the Patriots finished 30th in penalties and 26th in penalty yardage. And they have ranked 25th or lower in penalties in eight of the last 10 years. (Interestingly, the Patriots had one poor year of penalties — 2014, when they finished eighth in penalties and in third in yards, yet also won the Super Bowl).
The Patriots continue to play with discipline and good technique this year. While Brady’s Bucs lead the league in penalties, the Patriots have committed the fewest in the NFL (14), for the least amount of yardage (135). The Rams have the next-fewest penalties (22), and the Texans are next in yardage (148).