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Alex Smith's NFL comeback has come full circle, though he probably wishes it would have happened under more pleasant circumstances. Smith has been named the new starting quarterback for the Washington Football Team after Kyle Allen dislocated his ankle in the team's Week 9 loss to the New York Giants.
Allen's injury occurred at the end of the first quarter, and on Smith's first drive of the game after replacing him, he led the offense down the field for a field goal and the first points of the day for Washington. Smith will now make his first start since November 2018, when he suffered a broken fibula and tibia in his right leg against the Houston Texans. Allen's injury was equally as gruesome at the time, and even though Smith had to prepare to play football, other thoughts were racing through his head as well.
"A ton of emotions going on for me right then," Smith said. "I knew Kyle was down and knew it was serious once he stayed down. You get ready to roll, and all of a sudden, you see them bringing out an air cast and the cart. I know that routine well. I'm trying to lock it in, but feeling for Kyle."
Detailing Allen's Injury
In 2018, it was JJ Watt who delivered the blow that forced Smith into a nightmarish rehab. On Sunday, Jabril Peppers leg-whipped Allen coming off a blitz and was called for a 15-yard penalty. The Giants' safety explained his side of the story.
"Everything happened so fast," Peppers said. "I tried to just bull rush the running back, but he kind of got under me a little bit and I tried to like spin out of it. It was a weird kind of play. I didn't intentionally try to leg whip him or whatever the penalty was. I was just trying to play hard and get him on the ground."
Washington head coach Ron Rivera agreed with Peppers' testament that it wasn't intentional.
"I don't think it's a dirty play," Rivera said. "It's a guy trying to make a play. I've been in that situation. Peppers is a heck of a player; he plays 100 miles an hour."
Smith on Sunday
In his second game of the season, the former top overall pick was 24-for-32 with a touchdown pass and three interceptions. Smith was sacked three times and finished with a quarterback rating of 32.1 in the loss that dropped Washington to 2-6 on the season. They remain a half-game up on the Giants and Cowboys in the NFC East. At 3-4-1, the Eagles remain in first place as they were on the bye in Week 9.
Down 23-10 entering the fourth quarter, Smith tried to lead a comeback attempt, leading Washington down the field for a field goal to start the quarter, cutting the Giants' lead to 10. Smith's first touchdown of his comeback came with 10 minutes left in the game as he threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Terry McLaurin.
The comeback would fall short, though, with Smith throwing two interceptions on the two ensuing drives. Smith will make the start next week against the Detroit Lions, with Dwayne Haskins as the number two.