In the second quarter of the Seahawks' victory over Washington, Percy Harvin ran around left end for what appeared to be a 16-yard touchdown -- until it wasn't, because of a holding penalty on a Seattle lineman.
On the very next play, the do-everything Harvin caught a short pass near the line of scrimmage and motored down the sideline for what appeared to be a 26-yard TD - until it wasn't, because of a false-start call on Harvin.
And in the fourth quarter, Harvin collected what he thought was a 41-yard scoring pass - until it wasn't, because, as official Jeff Triplette informed a national television audience, a member of the Seahawks "hit a player on the ground unnecessarily."
Three TDs, zero points, thanks to flags, which are being thrown about 15 percent more often in the NFL than they were last season through Week 5.
"I've never seen that in football," Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman said about the trio of touchdowns taken away. "I've never seen that. Ever."
Get used to it. NFL games are averaging about 17 penalties, up more than two per game from the 14.7 to this point in 2013, according to the league, and the man in charge of officiating is OK with the trends, in part because games are actually running a few minutes shorter.
Some flags are negating highlight-worthy action - 15 TDs have been wiped out already, up from 11 at this time a year ago, according to STATS - and might just be changing the nature of the way defense is played.
"I'm certainly not surprised that fouls are up. ... We're in a good place," NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino said in a telephone interview Thursday.
"I don't see a diminished product on the field," he said.
Where things are especially out of whack is in the defensive-backfield rules that the competition committee decided to emphasize - and in the case of illegal contact, reword.
Illegal contact, defensive holding, defensive illegal use of hands, and offensive pass interference are all at Week 5 highs over the last 20 years, STATS said, and the jumps from 2013 are staggering, particularly for illegal contact (which has more than tripled, from 15 to 56) and defensive holding (more than doubled, from 52 to 113).
There already have been more illegal contact calls than the 54 for all of last season.
Blandino's message: Don't expect things to go back to the way they were.
"If we pull back now, then we aren't being consistent, and I think that's important," he said.
"We were very liberal in these areas and teams then started to play and coach to those standards, so they've been under-officiated," Blandino said. "And that was the reason the committee felt it was time to tighten it up."
Clearly, not everyone has figured out how to adjust.
"You kind of had a dog that went to the bathroom in one place for 10 years," Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said, "and now he has to go over here."
Some defensive players wonder aloud whether the NFL only wants to make things easier for quarterbacks and wideouts who already were able to gain yards and points seemingly at will. So far, QBs have been more successful than ever: The NFL-wide completion percentage of 63.7 and interception rate of 2.4 are both the best through five weeks since at least 1950, according to STATS.
Blandino, though, says those numbers simply reflect that offenses focus more on shorter passes.
One example of the way defenses are failing to adapt came Sunday, when Falcons cornerback Robert Alford got called for four penalties, including two on one play, in a loss to the Giants.
"We've got to make sure that Robert and all of our defensive players understand how the game is going to be called and what is defensive holding and what is illegal contact," Atlanta coach Mike Smith said. "Obviously, we haven't done a good enough job as a coaching staff."
Cardinals cornerback Antonio Cromartie, for one, insisted he hasn't spent a lot of time thinking about the increase in penalties, "because if you start paying attention to the calls, you're not going to play the way you want to play."
Still, officials affect the way players do their jobs.
"We're going to see how they're calling the game," Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib said. "If they're calling it tight, we'll back up a little bit."
As for what happened Monday night, when Seahawks safety Earl Thomas surmised that the 13 penalties on the Super Bowl champions was an attempt to keep things close against the last-place Washington, Blandino called it a coincidence that three flags wiped out Harvin's scores.
"As long as there have been officials," Blandino said, "there's players that complained about calls."