NFL had seven instances of lowering the helmet in Week 1, with three flagged

Last year, NFL officials flagged players for lowering the helmet and initiating forcible contact with an opponent only four times. For the entire season.

In Week 1, the officials dropped a flag for lowering the helmet three times.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, seven of the unnecessary roughness fines announced on Saturday were for lowering the helmet.

Three were called on the field during live action. Four were fined after the fact.

Last year, there were 229 fines and warnings for lowering the helmet against three fouls called during games.

As the source explained it, the officials along the sideline are keeping closer watch for moments where the helmet is lowered. It tends to happen in those instances of open-field collisions. At least for one week, the officials were spotting it and flagging it at a much higher rate than last year.