The Chiefs entered Sunday’s game against Arizona as the second-least penalized team in the NFL.
They finished Sunday’s 17-14 loss with a season-most nine penalties for 75 yards.
And just about every one of them hurt.
“Nine penalties is absolutely ridiculous for a football team and everything else that went with it,” said coach Andy Reid, whose team had been flagged just 57 times for 456 yards in the first 12 games.
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The penalties were spread among all three units — offense, defense and special teams. Arizona was flagged for six penalties for 40 yards.
“We’re usually a pretty disciplined team,” said Mike McGlynn, who was called for holding on a play in which running back Jamaal Charles suffered an ankle injury.
Outside linebacker Tamba Hali was called for a roughing the passer on a third-and-5 incompletion when he was on the ground and hit Arizona quarterback Drew Stanton low That extended a first-quarter drive that ended with a punt but forced the Chiefs to start from their 5.
Tight end Travis Kelce was called for two false starts in the second quarter; and safety Husain Abdullah was called for defensive holding on a drive that ended with a missed Arizona field goal.
In the third quarter, tight end Anthony Fasano was called for a controversial offensive interference penalty that nullified his touchdown catch; and in the fourth quarter, Donald Stephenson, used as an extra blocker, was called for holding; linebacker Josh Martin was called for holding on a punt return that brought the ball back to the Chiefs 15; and offensive tackle Eric Fisher was called for a false start on the Chiefs’ final drive.
“You can’t make mistakes we made against a good team,” said Fasano, who didn’t agree with the call against him. “Turnovers and penalties, however they might have come, you can’t do that against a good team.”
Rookie guard Zach Fulton was called for holding at the end of the first quarter, but it was on a third-down incompletion, and the Cardinals declined it.
“We got penalized at the wrong times,” said wide receiver Jason Avant. “Penalties are rough but whenever they’re in a fringe area, whenever they’re on second or third down, where it sets you back 5 or 10 yards, those are the penalties that hurt you.
“Those penalties in the fringe area that take you out of field-goal range, or penalties where now it’s second-and-15, are rough. It’s uncharacteristic, and we shot ourselves in the foot.”