DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 09: Officials pick up flags after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by the Denver Broncos during the game against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 9, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The Cincinnati Bengals have made the playoffs during three of the previous seven seasons, dating back to their 11-5 AFC North title. And what's ironic is that during Cincinnati's playoff seasons, they've registered an increase of penalties. For example the Bengals are averaging 7.9 penalties per game during playoff seasons and only 6.2 penalties during non-playoff years.
The Bengals were flagged 122 times in 2011 (23 declined), an increase of 22 flags from the team's four-win season last year. Of those penalties this year, 47.5% came from offensive holdings and false starts combined. Andrew Whitworth and A.J. Green led the team with nine penalties respectively and Andre Smith led the team with six false starts. Nate Livings and Whitworth tied for the team lead of four offensive holding penalties, an increase over last year.
And much like their increase of penalties during playoff seasons, the Bengals rate of penalties actually increases during wins this year. During Cincinnati's nine wins, the Bengals are averaging 6.6 penalties -- only 5.7 penalties/game during losses.
But what has to frustrate the offensive coaching staff is the number of false starts. The Bengals committed 27 false starts this year, negating 135 yards and stalling 10 offensive possessions. It's the most false starts by the Cincinnati Bengals since 2007.
Only two playoff teams, the Green Bay (28) and the San Francisco 49ers (30), committed more false starts this year.
A breakdown of penalties by players (who committed more than one penalty):