Alex Smith’s NFL Career Is Likely Finished
Mark Bacon—Main Event Sports DC
Early yesterday morning, former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann reminded his wife that it was the 33rd anniversary of the broken leg he suffered against the New York Giants on Nov. 18, 1985 – an injury considered one of the most gruesome in professional sports history.
Later in the day, he watched from a suite as current Redskins quarterback Alex Smith suffered an strikingly similar injury against the Texans, his right leg snapping in the same grisly fashion. Smith broke his right tibia and fibula, requiring immediate surgery, and he will miss the rest of the season, Coach Jay Gruden announced after the game.
Theismann said he became sick to his stomach as Smith lay on the turf, writhing in pain.
The memories of Theismann’s injury – which occurred after former Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor barreled into the back of his right leg during a Monday Night Football game and effectively ended Theismann’s career – were even vivid before Sunday’s game. Theismann and his wife talked about the moment and the anniversary as they drove from Virginia to the game on Sunday.
He pointed out after the game that both he and Smith were at the late stages of their career when the injuries occurred. “You’re not 26, 27 years old. Alex is going to be what, 34 this year? I was hurt at the age of 35.”
”There were other chilling ties to the two injuries : Both games ended 23-21 (although the Redskins won in 1985) and Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel was on the sideline as the Giants’ special teams coach” during Theismann game.
While Theismann was injured after being hit from behind, Smith’s occurred after his right leg had become caught in the turf during a sack by Houston defensive back Kareem Jackson. Texans defensive end J.J. Watt also made contact with Smith as he went down and his leg buckled.
Coach Jay Gruden said after the game that Smith broke the tibia and fibula in his right leg and underwent immediate surgery. Colt McCoy came on in relief and threw a touchdown pass to Jordan Reed on his first drive. McCoy, who knows Gruden’s offense better than anyone, had a chance to be the hero when he took the field with 52 seconds to play. At that point Washington trailed 23-21 and was out of timeouts, needing about 30 yards to move into field goal range. The Redskins got 20 yards on their final drive, and Dustin Hopkins’s 63-yard field goal attempt with eight seconds remaining fell short.
Penalties were once again a major factor: The Redskins were flagged six times for 43 yards, none bigger than a defensive holding penalty on Josh Norman late in the fourth quarter. On third-and-five from the Washington 37-yard line after the two-minute warning, Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis combined to bring down Deshaun Watson short of the sticks, but officials ruled that Norman had grabbed DeAndre Hopkins while Watson was still scrambling behind the line of scrimmage. Replays showed it was a questionable call at best. The penalty gave the Texans a first down, forcing the Redskins to burn their final two timeouts and allowing Houston to run the clock down to 56 seconds before attempting a long field goal. Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 45-yard attempt was no good, but the penalty still proved costly for Washington, which essentially ran out of time on its potential game-winning drive.
Adrian Peterson’s seven-yard touchdown run with 11:57 to play gave Washington a 21-20 lead and moved Peterson ahead of Redskins legend John Riggins and into sole possession of sixth-place on the NFL’s all-time rushing touchdowns list. The 105th rushing score of Peterson’s career also gave the Redskins their first lead change of the season, something they hadn’t experienced since Week 16 of last year. Less than five minutes later, Fairbairn gave the Texans the lead right back with a 54-yard field goal. Houston held on to became the second team in NFL history, the the first since the 1925 New York Giants, to win seven straight after starting the season 0-3. The Redskins missed an opportunity to improve to 7-3 for the first time in 22 years.
Rushing defense and pass rush struggled. Watson completed 16 of 24 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown, but the Texans quarterback also threw a pair of interceptions, his first since Week 6. Overall, Washington’s defense looked better than it did last week when it allowed 501 total yards to the Buccaneers. While Greg Manusky’s unit limited Houston to four conversions on 11 third downs, the Redskins had no answer for the Texans’ running game. Lamar Miller had 20 carries for 86 yards, while Alfred Blue added another 46 yards on eight carries. The Redskins sacked Watson three times, but they couldn’t get to him early in Houston’s final drive, when he picked up a crucial third-and-seven with a short pass over the middle to Miller.
In summary, Skins fans have likely seen the end of Alex Smith. One hates a career to end in such a fashion, but what on earth are Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder thinking replacing a popular QB (Kirk Cousins) with a player in the twilight of his career?? Similar to the Washington Wizards’ penchant for picking up old, washed out players (Dwight Howard, Jeff Green and Austin Rivers), the Skins are guilty of the same. Both should be renamed The Smithsonian, given their penchant for fossils.
I call for Washington’s management to grow a pair of onions and sign Colin Kaepernick as the new Skins QB.