Patriots benefit from one of the called penalties of the 2023 NFL season

Washington Commanders v New England Patriots
Washington Commanders v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

It's not often that the Patriots benefit from a badly called penalty on their opponents, but that's the case in their game against the Commanders on Sunday.

Early in the third quarter, a basic tackle on Mac Jones was flagged as roughing the passer, giving the Patriots an extra 15 yards and an extension of a drive that would have otherwise been over.

Media and fans, including those who cheer for the Patriots, reacted to the call, referring to it as one of the worst penalties of the year, furthering the narrative that the NFL is becoming too difficult for defenders to do their job.

It's a fair complaint to have, no matter what team you support, and it's an aspect of the game that the league seems not to want to address, as it's been a consistent criticism in recent years. And you know something is off when fans of the team that benefited from the bad call are joining the conversation and complaining about it as well.

It's unlikely anything will be done to address the issue, especially since higher-ups in the league office believe the penalty is working well in protecting the quarterback. But several are still getting hurt, with a handful out for the rest of the 2023 season, and there are other plays they're letting slide that should be addressed as firmly as they pretend to care about roughing the passer.

That includes helmet-to-helmet hits, something that was not called in a definition-fitting instance on DeVante Parker by DeShon Elliott in last week's game against the Dolphins. Although the safety was fined for the hit after the fact, it's doing nothing to protect players during a game or prevent violators from doing it again.

Unfortunately, it feels like screaming into the void at this point because Roger Goodell and Co. seem to believe nothing needs improving. So we'll probably continue to see bad penalties and critical missed flags for the foreseeable future.

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