Alex Smith, for the first time since sustaining his severe leg injury in 2018, had another “injury” go viral during Monday night’s 23-17 win over the Steelers. With his team behind 14-0 in the first half, blood began to come out of Smith’s left sock after he was spiked in the front of his leg.
While the injury didn’t look good, Smith said that his leg did not require stitches at halftime. And after Washington’s medical staff taped up the injury, Smith led the Washington Football Team to a third consecutive win. After a 2-7 start, Washington is 5-7 and tied with the Giants for first place in the NFC East.
“You get stepped on a bunch as a quarterback, especially that front leg,” Smith told reporters after the game. “You get kind of used to it … It was the visual when I looked down and obviously my spat was bloody, and could visually see the blood kind of pumping out. So I knew it was a good one. I lucked out with the timing, It was right before half, so we just kind of taped it up before we got in at halftime and took better care of it.
“Never had one gush like that. New for me, but thankfully it’s not serious at all.”
Alex Smith bleeding around his left ankle. He appeared to be "cleated" on previous drive. It is not his surgically repaired leg. pic.twitter.com/0nUNky71GZ
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) December 7, 2020
After falling in an early 14-0 hole, Smith said the momentum began to shift in Washington’s favor after the Football Team managed to get on the board just before halftime. Trailing 14-3 at intermission, Washington started the second half with a 14-play, 82-yard drive that was capped off by Peyton Barber’s one-yard touchdown run. The Football Team tied the score on Logan Thomas’ 15-yard touchdown catch with 9:09 remaining. They took the led for good on on a Dustin Hopkins field goal that was set up by Smith’s 29-yard completion to Cam Sims, whose 31-yard on Washington’s first drive of the second half helped set up Barber’s score.
Without rookie running back Antonio Gibson (who suffered a toe injury on Washington’s second drive), and with receiver Terry McLaurin blanked by Pittsburgh’s defense, Thomas, Sims and J.D. McKissic caught a combined 24 passes for 260 yards. Smith lauded his teammates’ resolve after Washington failed to convert a first down during the first half. Smith was also not sacked in the second half after getting taken down three times in the first half.
“We knew it was going to be a little bit of this type of game,” Smith said. “They’re one of the best defenses in the NFL. They lead the NFL in points off turnovers, and there were so many teams that I felt like gave up negative plays, turned the ball over, got frustrated and couldn’t stay patient. For us, we talked all week about being able to ride through that. There were going to be some tough patches, and being able to take it one play at a time and not get frustrated and not make the mistake that this team has kind of really feared on.”
After discussing what Monday’s win meant for his team, Smith was asked what it meant for him to be a starting quarterback for a playoff contending team after his career was nearly ended following his major 2018 injury. Smith, who underwent 17 surgeries after suffering a compound leg fracture, is the front-runner to win Comeback Player of the Year.
“Me personally, I literally each and every week, I’m making the most of it, living like it’s my last (game) and enjoying that mindset,” Smith said. “I’m not looking beyond that next start and trying to take advantage of it with everything that I’ve got and enjoy it.
“I think this entire team, a little bit from the way we started the season, has kind of gotten that mentality, and I think that’s a great mentality to have. Just the sense of urgency and living week-to-week, going all-in and not getting ahead of ourselves. We looking to keeping that going this week.”