Commanders HC Ron Rivera's assessment
All eyes were on how the Washington Commanders would approach things from a defensive standpoint after trading Montez Sweat and Chase Young before the deadline. This was a bombshell in no uncertain terms, but the Washington Commanders felt it was the right thing to do and in keeping with their long-term plans for prosperity.
This brought opportunities for others on the defensive line. Casey Toohill and James Smith-Williams started the game, with rookie fifth-rounder K.J. Henry denied his first sack by an egregious personal foul that was nothing short of disgraceful.
Couple this with an exceptional performance from Washington's secondary, and it's not hard to see why head coach Ron Rivera was relatively pleased with what he saw overall based on comments via Sports Illustrated.
"I thought they went out and played with a lot of energy, they did some good things, but (there are) some things that obviously they're going to have to clean up and get better with. I thought the guys we tried to rotate in did some nice things."- Ron Rivera via Sports Illustrated
This was a step in the right direction defensively. It wasn't easy at times, but the Commanders found a way to get the job done - something they've been criticized for on occasion during an indifferent 2023 campaign to date.
Whether they can keep this up heading into a daunting run of games is another matter.