The last time Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith played in Landover was in 2018 when he suffered a horrific injury that nearly cost him his life.
In a wild series of events leading up to Washington’s Week 5 game against the Los Angeles Rams at home on Oct. 11, Smith got a chance to play the game he loves again, yet it wasn’t enough to secure a win as the Rams won 30-10.
“Obviously it was very surreal at first…to have it happen as fast as it did was probably a blessing,” Smith said about playing. “It was nice not to have to think about it and do it. It was nice to knock the cobwebs off, so to speak.”
Smith went 9-of-17 for 37 yards through the air in his return.
The quarterback carousel started after losing to the Baltimore Ravens just a week ago. Team officials benched second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins leaving backup quarterback Kyle Allen to start.
Allen found marginal success at the start of the contest going 9-of-13 for 74 yards through the air, and he rushed for a 7-yard touchdown, quickly responding to a 10-play, 76-yard opening scoring drive by Los Angeles by way of a Darrell Henderson touchdown run (XPA Missed).
That was the last time Washington led in the game. The Rams scored 14 unanswered points when quarterback Jared Goff hooked up with wide receiver Robert Woods on a 56-yard bomb late in the first quarter, then Goff took it in himself for good measure early in the second quarter on a 2-yard touchdown scamper.
Late in the second quarter, Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey laid a hard hit on Allen, resulting in a 15-yard penalty for lowering his head into the young signal-caller, forcing him out of the game with 2:21 remaining before halftime.
“I thought Kyle Allen performed pretty well,” said Washington Football Team Head Coach Ron Rivera. “He moved the ball, he made some good decisions…it’s unfortunate he took the shot that he did.”
Washington Football Team kicker Dustin Hopkins booted a 48-yard field goal in the raining conditions to trim the deficit to 10 points with seconds remaining in the first half.
The Rams were relentless on defense the rest of the way, pitching a shutout. Los Angeles held Washington to just 38 yards on the ground and 108 total net yards led by perennial pro bowl defensive lineman Aaron Donald who tallied four sacks.
“We didn’t run the ball as effectively as we did in the first half,” Rivera said. “If you can’t keep them off-balanced and get into second and long and third and long it’s tough. We gotta make sure that we are doing that because then your play-action means a little bit more.”
That herculean defensive effort gave the Rams cushion for the remainder of the contest as kicker Samuel Sloman hit a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter. Goff (309 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) put the game away late the fourth quarter when he hit Henderson down the middle for an 11-yard touchdown pass.
Washington lost its fourth consecutive game and will go on the road to take on the winless New York Giants. The Burgundy and Gold currently sit in second place in the NFC East Standings.
“This has just been a guess a whirlwind of things. Hopefully, we can settle in and win a football game next week,” Rivera said.