Washington starting quarterback Kyle Allen dislocated and fractured his ankle Sunday, ending his season.
For now, that means that somehow Alex Smith is again an NFL starting quarterback. It’s close to a miracle, quite frankly, that Smith is back on the field. In November 2018, he famously suffered a compound fracture in his leg that became infected and life-threatening. Smith’s injury required 17 surgeries. Less than two years ago, Smith was more concerned with saving his leg than playing football, as detailed in the brilliant ESPN documentary ‘Project 11.’
But he soon shifted his focus to rehab and chasing the minuscule chance that he could play football again. While Smith had never experienced anything quite like his gruesome leg injury, he’s more than familiar with an underdog status. First in San Francisco, Smith was leading the NFL in completion percentage but was supplanted by Colin Kaepernick after reporting a concussion. Despite much success in Kansas City, he soon became merely a placeholder and mentor to eventual superstar Patrick Mahomes.
The Washington job was his before the injury and in a strange inverse, is his now despite having Washington’s 2019 first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins on the roster. Haskins was benched in Week 4 amid rumors that he had fallen out of favor his new Washington head coach Ron Rivera. But in discussing Smith’s latest turn under center Monday, Rivera seemed to leave the door open for Haskins to have a comeback of his own.
“The thing about Alex as the starter right now is you have a guy that is a very veteran quarterback, that has helped to nurture and develop a couple of pretty good young quarterbacks,” Rivera explained. “Kind of showed these guys how to study, to prepare for a game, how to handle it, and I think this is going to be very good for Dwayne. I think Dwayne’s going to get an opportunity to truly see how to prepare for a game as a starter.
Smith entered Sunday’s contest against the Giants in the second quarter and put up 325 yards, including his first touchdown since his return to the NFL.
Smith helped orchestrate a near comeback win until he threw consecutive interceptions on Washington’s final drives.
Alex Smith and the Washington Football Team face the Detroit Lions in Week 10.