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Growing Pains: Seahawks guard Damien Lewis racking up penalties in rookie season

New England Patriots Vs. Seattle Seahawks at Centurylink Field Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Six games in and the Seattle Seahawks aren’t committing that many penalties. Especially by their own standards.

This was a team that used to be king of the NFL in infractions, but they’re holding pace with the best of the division right now.

Rookie guard Damien Lewis leads the Seattle Seahawks in penalties, by a wide margin. He’s got six already, one per game, and his 50 penalized yards are double the next player, Brandon Shell.

I’ve been keeping tabs occasionally on the fouls committed by the offensive line, as those are the most frequent and can be drive-killers. Here’s a general breakdown this season:

Week 1 against Atlanta Falcons, 5 offensive penalties. Three were on Damien Lewis, and a false start by Mike Iupati.
Week 2 against New England Patriots, 7 offensive penalties (yeah this one was bad). Only two came against the offensive line, however. False start by Brandon Shell and holding by Damien Lewis.
Week 3 against Dallas Cowboys, 2 offensive penalties. False start by Jamarco Jones and holding by Brandon Shell.
Week 4 against Miami Dolphins, 0 penalties.
Week 5 against Minnesota Vikings, 1 offensive penalty. False start by Damien Lewis.
Week 7 against Arizona Cardinals, 3 offensive penalties. Two false starts by Brandon Shell and tripping by Lewis.

Putting it in perspective like that actually really helped. After a three-penalty game one, Lewis has three penalties in total over the next five games. That’s actually not that bad for a rookie guard, using entirely subjective anecdotal emotions as evidence. Shell is almost on par with Lewis apart from game one.

Seattle has 31 total penalties, with 10 of them coming from Lewis and Shell alone. After that, Duane Brown has none, Ethan Pocic has none, and Mike Iupati has one.

Looking around the NFC West: Arizona has 55 total penalties. The Los Angeles Rams have 28, and a few less on the line than the Seahawks, though they’ve got five from Tackle Andrew Whitworth alone. The San Francisco 49ers have 42 penalties. Five from a tackle, three from a guard, and two from a tackle. Seattle’s only at a five-per-game average, before anyone starts yelling about playing six games opposed to seven thus far.

One could examine another random-but-not-as-good team, also at 5-1, let’s just call them the Green Bay Packers, and find they’re at 30 penalties through three games, one fewer than the Hawks.

Last week was a significant step backwards, especially on defense. This team needs to continue to play clean football with all the injuries they’re handling on a weekly basis. Especially as the divisional opponents continue to hit the schedule, Russell Wilson will be grateful if he doesn’t have to overcome many 3rd-and-long in the weeks ahead.