Penalties for violations of the league’s new rules governing the use of the helmet dropped in the last two weeks of the preseason after the NFL clarified that inadvertent contact should not result in a flag.
That trend continued in Thursday night’s opener. Officials were not at all shy about calling penalties as there were 26 accepted penalties and two calls that offset, but none of them were for a player lowering his helmet to initiate contact.
It’s one game and the 15 to come on Sunday and Monday might bring a different result, but the change made in August may have alleviated some of the concern about how much the game would change because of the rule change.
While the new helmet rule did not come up, a new part of the roughing the passer rule did get called. Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett was flagged for landing his body weight on Nick Foles after Foles delivered a pass in the first half.