Thirty-three years to the day after the Redskins lost quarterback Joe Theismann to a broken leg, Alex Smith’s season ended on an eerily similar injury in Washington’s 23-21 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Smith broke his right tibia and fibula on a sack by Kareem Jackson midway through the third quarter and will require surgery. The veteran quarterback’s leg turned the wrong way, much the way Theismann’s did when he was sacked by Lawrence Taylor on a Monday night game in 1985. Theismann’s injury ended his career.
“I know it was very painful for him and heartbreaking for a lot of people,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “He’s a great guy and hard worker and one of the key leaders on this football team. These things happen in pro football, unfortunately. Just hate to see them happen with a guy like Alex.”
Theismann attended the game and said he turned away after Smith went down.
“It brought back vivid memories,” Theismann said.
Smith wasn’t the only quarterback hurt during Sunday’s early games. The Titans lost quarterback Marcus Mariota in the final minute of the first half of their blowout loss to the Colts when he reinjured his right elbow.
The Texans lost both of their starting guards against Washington — Zach Fulton to a shoulder injury on the first drive and Senio Kelemete to an ankle injury in the second quarter. For the Redskins, defensive lineman Jonathan Allen was evaluated for a concussion but returned.
The Detroit Lions also suffered a blow on offense when rookie running back Kerryon Johnson hurt his left knee against the Carolina Panthers. He left in the third quarter and didn’t return after running for 87 yards on 15 carries.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton suffered an apparent ankle injury against the Lions. He left briefly in the third quarter but returned.
Ravens offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, who’s had ankle issues lately, limped off the field twice against the Bengals.
In the Giants’ win over the Buccaneers, New York defensive lineman Kerry Wynn left in the second half with a concussion. Tampa Bay tight end O.J. Howard left in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.
Jaguars right guard A.J. Cann injured a hamstring in Jacksonville’s loss to the Steelers.