The 23-21 loss the Washington Redskins suffered at home Sunday to the Houston Texans was only the beginning of their problems.
The Redskins lost starting quarterback Alex Smith for the season with a broken fibula and tibia of his left leg. The injury took place on the first drive of the second half when Smith was sacked by two Texans players.
Ironically, the injury took place 33 years to the day that former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann suffered a career-ending broken leg during a Monday night home game against the New York Giants.
Smith did not have the best of games prior to the injury, having been sacked three times and thrown two interceptions, one that Justin Reed returned 101 yards for a touchdown.
Backup Colt McCoy replaced Smith and threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Reed on his second play to bring Washington close to victory. McCoy will start for Washington when they hit the road to face the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden lamented the loss of his starter.
“This was definitely painful for Alex and heartbreaking for a lot of people,” Gruden said.
However, Smith’s teammates think he will be able to return next season.
“Alex is the most resilient player I have seen,” said tight end Vernon Davis, who played with Smith in San Francisco and Washington. “He’s still with us in spirit and in our hearts. We’ll just go on from here.”
Likewise, the Redskins said they have complete confidence in McCoy’s leadership.
“Colt is a great competitor,” said Washington offensive lineman Chase Roullier. “I have great confidence in him.”
“I’m a big firm believer in Colt McCoy’s ability to play in the National Football League,” Gruden said. “The offense will not change with Colt. They have a similar skill set.”
Washington is 6-4 and still in first place in the NFC East, one game ahead of arch nemesis Dallas (5-5).