With a 3-1 record, the Ravens are tied with the Cincinnati Bengals for first place in the AFC North and are generally near the top of many power rankings out there on the Internet. They are also at the top of the list when it comes to penalties.
The Ravens are tied with the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Redskins for the most penalties in the NFL with 37 flags. They rank second in penalty yards with 330, which is just 26 yards fewer than the Redskins have been penalized.
If this trend were to continue, the Ravens would finish the season with 148 penalties, which would shatter the current franchise record of 139 set in 2005. The team would also conclude with 1,320 yards lost because of penalties, which would eclipse the mark of 1,094 set in 2009.
Here is the number of penalties and yards the Ravens have been docked since John Harbaugh became coach for the 2008 season:
2008: 103 penalties for 785 yards
A closer inspection reveals that the Ravens have really hurt themselves by drawing flags that result in 15-yard losses. They have been cited 10 times for transgressions ranging from unnecessary roughness to personal fouls to unsportsmanlike conduct. Washington has been flagged for as many 15-yard penalties.
The Ravens have also penalized 10 times for 10-yard penalties. Only the Redskins have been cited more often for 10-yard violations, getting penalized 11 times. The New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles have been flagged 10 times each for 10-yard losses.
Individually, right guard Marshal Yanda leads the team with four penalties, but one was declined. Wide receiver Torrey Smith has been flagged three times, and left tackle Michael Oher was cited three times, but one was declined.
Strong safety Bernard Pollard and rookie outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw lead the way in 15-yard penalties with two each. Pollard was flagged for a personal foul in the Week 3 win against the New England Patriots and an unnecessary roughness in the Week 4 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Upshaw drew two personal fouls in the win against the Patriots.
It could be argued that the number of penalties is skewed due to the presence of replacement officials in the first three games, during which the team was flagged 26 times for 230 yards.
The regular referees cited the Ravens 11 times for 100 yards. So it will be interesting to see if those numbers will grow or slide as the regular officials continue to work the remainder of the regular-season contests.