One the NFL’s most-penalized defenders, New England Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner, could cross paths Saturday with the league’s most prolific receiver in terms of drawing pass interference penalties, Torrey Smith.
Smith led the NFL with 11 defensive pass interference penalties drawn for 229 yards during the regular season, according to Football Outsiders, and added a 12th for 29 yards against the Steelers in the wild-card game. The next closest receiver, Green Bay Packers star Jordy Nelson, drew six flags for 129 yards.
“It’s definitely frustrating, but again, it’s part of the game,” Smith said this week. “I don’t want to be known for a guy that’s just getting held all the time, but it just happens. If I knew why it kept happening … I guess most times it’s because I’m moving pretty good, and it kind of surprises them a little bit, so they grab you.”
Browner, a physical corner signed from the Seattle Seahawks in the offseason, has played just nine games for the Patriots. He was called for five defensive pass interference penalties this season, and 15 penalties overall.
Quarterback Joe Flacco said such penalties usually come against the Ravens because “our receivers [are] going out there and playing well and getting themselves in positions to make big plays.” The team as a whole drew a league-high 15 pass interference calls.
“I think the biggest thing is when we do throw to [Smith] deep, it’s because we have a good matchup or we have a good coverage for it to work, and he’s doing a great job of winning,” Flacco said. “Whether it’s beating press or getting over top of the zone, he’s doing a good job of doing it, so he’s putting himself in favorable positions.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.