Who were the big winners and losers from a hugely important Washington Commanders victory at the New England Patriots in Week 9?
Pressure was mounting on influential figures within the Washington Commanders after another difficult week. Losing to the Philadelphia Eagles coupled with trading Montez Sweat and Chase Young meant a big reaction was needed, which thankfully arrived en route to an impressive road victory in Week 9 at the New England Patriots.
The Commanders made harder work of it than needed, but they came through when it mattered. On more than one occasion this season, they've exceeded expectations performance-wise without the right result, so this represented a nice change of pace.
There is a lot of hard work ahead - especially considering the daunting run of fixtures coming over the second half of 2023. But this keeps the wolves from Ron Rivera's door for another week if nothing else as the head coach continues to fight for his future beyond the current campaign.
With that being said, here are five winners and losers from Washington's vital win at Gillette Stadium.
Loser No. 1
This is becoming a widespread problem around the league. The officiating is worse than ever despite the higher stakes, which was evident almost from start to finish and centered around a disgraceful roughing the passer call that denied rookie fifth-rounder K.J. Henry a sack.
If this call is roughing the passer, the sport is finished. There is an understandable need to ensure safety, but Henry can count himself extremely unfortunate to be flagged for what looked like a phenomenal play and genuine tackle.
This wasn't the only bad call on both sides, either. But the Washington Commanders and others around the league are unlikely to get an apology anytime soon.