LANDOVER, Md. - Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith, who suffered one of the most gruesome injuries in NFL history in 2018, returned to the playing field on Sunday.
The comeback was the highlight of an otherwise dreary outing for Washington, which lost to the Los Angeles Rams 30-10 and fell to 1-4 on the season.
Washington had minus-6 yards of offense in the second half, reflective of a sloppy game that was dominated by the Rams from start to finish.
The defense also took a major step backwards, allowing four pass plays of 25-plus yards and struggling to create impact plays, save for an interception by Kendall Fuller.
Fuller was involved in the Rams' second touchdown, as he handed off receiver Robert Woods to safety Landon Collins - except that Collins was out of position and didn't finish the play, conceding a 56-yard touchdown.
"Anytime you're playing zone coverage, everybody's got to be on the same page," Fuller said, adding that the team would get back to the film room this week and focus on improvement.
Punter Tress Way was the team's other standout, with 10 punts for 511 yards.
But setting aside Washington's struggled, the day belonged to Smith, who came in in relief of starter Kyle Allen when Allen injured his arm on a running play in the second quarter.
Watching from the stands, Smith's wife and three children cheered him on as he completed what may be the biggest comeback from injury in NFL history.
"I'd be lying if I said there weren't a lot of days when I didn't think it was going to happen," he said. "But you just kind of keep pushing through. And I always felt like when I had my darkest moments, there was always something around the corner that happened that I just kept kind of plugging along and all of a sudden I made a big gain or big step or something clicked and then I kind of keep marching."
Smith completed his first pass before being taking his first hit - a piggyback ride from star defensive lineman Aaron Donald. Smith got up and ran off the field after the hit, demonstrating he remained intact. He said it felt good to get that out of the way and get his adrenaline going.
There were more hits to come, and more struggles throughout the second half. Smith said he was left with a sour taste in his mouth because of the result, but his teammates lauded the achievement of returning to the field.
"For him to come back into a game, in a rainy game, was amazing," running back J.D. McKissic said. "And for me to be the guy to catch his first pass, I'm very excited and very appreciative for that guy."
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