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December 6, 2012
Yellow fever: Breaking down the NFL's fourth-most penalized team


The 49ers have committed 21 penalties in the last two games and 88 over the course of the season. Only three teams have more. Jim Harbaugh touched on that topic Wednesday, especially a slough of holding calls that have slowed down his offense. There have been eight of those in the last two games.

"We have had some big ones that have really stopped some drives," he said. "Some of them were really, really questionable, in our opinion. What can you do to correct it? Keep the hands inside - the hands were inside with Joe Staley (on Sunday). Can run his feet more, that's something we can do. We're looking at it."

The two players with the most penalties are Mike Iupati (false starts and holding) and special teamer C.J. Spillman. Both have been flagged seven times, although one of Spillman's was offset. Dashon Goldson leads the team in penalty yardage. He's been flagged six times for 87 yards. All but one were misconduct penalties. The outlier was a 15-yard pass-interference penalty. Goldson ranks 9th in the NFL in penalty yardage; Chris Culliver is 25th.

Of the total penalties, 17 have been committed on special teams, including the seven by Spillman. Also noteworthy is who has not committed penalties. Offensive pass interference is a growing trend in the NFL as receivers increasingly are flagged for pushing off their opponents. Only one pass catcher, Kyle Williams, has been penalized this year. It's also notable that tight end Vernon Davis, who once led the team in false starts, has not been flagged at all. Also, first-time starter Alex Boone, who never played guard before this season, has only one penalty.

Mike Iupati: 7
C.J. Spillman: 7
Dashon Goldson: 6
Aldon Smith: 6
Chris Culliver: 5
Ahmad Brooks: 4
Tarell Brown: 4
Colin Kaepernick: 4
Carlos Rogers: 4
Alex Smith: 4
Joe Staley: 4
Unknown: 4
Anthony Davis: 3
Leonard Davis: 3
Anthony Dixon: 3
Demarcus Dobbs: 3
Jonathan Goodwin: 3
Ray McDonald: 3
Delanie Walker: 3
NaVorro Bowman: 2
Frank Gore: 2
Larry Grant: 2
Will Tukuafu: 2
Alex Boone: 1
Tramaine Brock: 1
Brent Celek: 1
Andy Lee: 1
Bruce Miller: 1
Justin Smith: 1
Kyle Williams: 1
Patrick Willis: 1

The penalties above do not add up to 88. Some were declined. Some were offset by a penalty to to the opposition.

- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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