Alex Smith suffers Joe Thiesmann-esque leg injury 33 years to the day of Lawrence Taylor's tackle

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 when he was taken down awkwardly by Kareem Jackson and J.J. Watt. Under the weight of both defenders, Smith’s right leg crumbled, leaving him in a heap on the field.

Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith suffered a season-ending injury on Sunday against the Houston Texans. (AP)
Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith suffered a season-ending injury on Sunday against the Houston Texans. (AP)

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 announced that Smith suffered a broken right tibia and fibula and will undergo surgery right away.

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’s 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 Smith early last offseason after it became clear that franchise quarterback Kirk Cousins wasn’t the franchise quarterback.

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 — 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.

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.

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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