Washington quarterback Alex Smith suffered a season-ending leg injury against the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Smith was dropping back to pass in the second half against Houston when he was taken down awkwardly by Kareem Jackson and J.J. Watt. Under the weight of both defenders, Smith’s right leg seemingly crumbled, leaving him in a heap on the field.
Smith tossed his helmet and buried his head in his jersey immediately after the hit while medical attendants quickly called for a cart to remove him from the field. After the game, the team formally Smith suffered a broken right tibia and fibula and will undergo surgery right away.
See photos from the devastating injury:
Redskins QB Alex Smith suffers horrifying leg injury
Redskins QB Alex Smith suffers horrifying leg injury
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11), center, is sacked and injured by Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99), right, Houston Texans strong safety Kareem Jackson (25) during a game between the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans at FedEX Field on November 18, 2018, in Landover, MD. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) ankle is injured as he is sacked by Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) and Houston Texans strong safety Kareem Jackson (25) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: PLEASE CLEAR USE OF THIS IMAGE WITH A PHOTO EDITOR OR MATT VITA OF MATT RENNIE. Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11), center, is sacked and injured by Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99), right, Houston Texans strong safety Kareem Jackson (25) during a game between the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans at FedEX Field on November 18, 2018, in Landover, MD. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, bottom, slides under Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph (24) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) reacts to an injury in the third quarter during a game between the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans at FedEX Field on November 18, 2018, in Landover, MD. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson (26) grimaces as he checks on Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) as he lays injured on the turf in the third quarter of the game between the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans at FedEx Field on, November 18, 2018. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, bottom, reacts after an injury during the second half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) is lifted up to be carted off the field in a game between the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans at FedEx Field on, November 18, 2018. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Houston Texans strong safety Kareem Jackson (25) reaches for Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) as he leaves the field after an injury during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 18: Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) is carted off the field in the third quarter at FedEx Field after a bad injury. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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If the injury weren’t already ugly enough, the play occurred 33 years to the day after New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor sacked Washington quarterback Joe Theismann, breaking his tibia and fibula and ending Theismann’s career.
The similarities weren’t lost on Theismann, either, who watched Smith’s injury from the stands at FedEx Field.
Backup quarterback Colt McCoy finished the game for Washington, which fell 23-21 after missing a last-second field goal.
Washington’s gamble on Smith
Washington targeted Alex Smith early last offseason after it became clear that franchise quarterback Kirk Cousins would be opting for free agency.
Kansas City was more than willing to part with Smith as Patrick Mahomes emerged as its starter of the future. It sent Smith to Washington for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick in the 2018 draft.
To show commitment to its new quarterback, Washington handed Smith a four-year, $94 million contract extension. Fortunately for Smith, that deal included a $71 million guarantee if he got injured.
Even still, no one could’ve predicted a situation like this. Smith is 34 years old — two years younger than Theismann was at the time of his injury — and it’s too early to speculate what Smith’s recovery will look like.
Thoughts are with Alex. Absolutely gutted about it. Never want to see that for anyone ever. Wishing you all the best brother.
Washington was sitting atop the NFC East standings on Sunday morning and will need some serious help moving forward to stay there. McCoy is listed as the No. 2 quarterback but has a career QBR of 78.9 (26 touchdowns, 23 interceptions).
More than halfway through the season, Washington will have to find a new starting quarterback to take it through the regular season and, hopefully, beyond. Then it will have to assess what type of career Smith can have moving forward.
Related: See the most gruesome sports injuries in recent memory:
The most gruesome sports injuries in recent memory
The most gruesome sports injuries in recent memory
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