Redskins fall to Texans after losing Alex Smith to ankle injury
LANDOVER Joe Theismann was in the building for the Washington Redskins’ annual “Homecoming” game, and that might be the worst part of all. The game was overshadowed by an ugly injury that surely provided the old quarterback unwelcome flashbacks.
After the Redskins lost Alex Smith to a gruesome leg injury in the third quarter on the 33rd anniversary of Theismann’s career-ending leg injury, they lost the game, too, a 23-21 defeat to the Houston Texans at FedEx field.
Smith was injured in the third quarter when Kareem Jackson moved behind Smith while wrapping him up for a sack and J.J. Watt joined in on his front side. As a result, Smith tumbled over himself and his right ankle contorted.
Colt McCoy entered the game and threw a touchdown on his first drive, then helped the team pull into the lead. But his efforts, and the team’s, fell just short as they could not make progress in the waning, most critical moments.
McCoy finished 6-for-12 for 54 yards and a touchdown, plus 35 rushing yards. Adrian Peterson had 51 rushing yards and two touchdowns and Mason Foster grabbed two takeaways for Washington (6-4).
Houston notched its seventh straight win after an 0-3 start to the season.
While Washington punted on its first two drives, the Texans’ offense kicked into gear early. They got on the board first with a short field goal, then with a 16-yard DeAndre Hopkins touchdown catch.
The Redskins bounced back with a 70-yard drive. A defensive holding call on Tyrann Mathieu kept them alive off a near-disastrous fumble on third down. Less than a minute after the quarter changed, Adrian Peterson walked in a 3-yard touchdown, setting himself up with a nasty cut outside to the left.
The Washington defense followed that up with its first takeaway of the afternoon when Mason Foster collected his seventh career interception. But the offense didn’t take advantage of field position inside Houston territory.
The next drive got closer, but was ruined by a rare red-zone miscue. Smith wanted to connect with Reed for a 9-yard touchdown on 3rd and goal. Reed seemed to slip when cutting and turning around in the end zone, and Smith’s pass sailed past him to rookie safety Justin Reid. Reid had a clear path to return the ball 101 yards for a touchdown.
On the Redskins’ next third down, Smith scrambled and forced a pass toward Kapri Bibbs that linebacker Brennan Scarlett nabbed instead. This time the damage was minimal, as Ka’imi Fairbairn missed an ensuing field goal attempt.
Foster picked up his second takeaway on the Texans’ opening drive of the second half, though it should have been called another interception. DeAndre Hopkins bobbled a pass while Ha Ha Clinton-Dix brought him down, and the ball never hit the ground but Foster dove on top and stole possession. It was credited as a fumble.
But the following drive was when Smith went down with his injury. He was carted off and the team immediately ruled him out for the day.
Preston Smith gave Washington excellent field position by batting up a Watson pass from the line of scrimmage and intercepting it. On his first play on the field, McCoy ran the ball himself, and later floated a touchdown to Reed in the far-left corner of the end zone. Houston responded with a long drive and a field goal, making it 20-14 after three quarters.
McCoy led a 10-play, 62-yard drive that concluded with Peterson’s second rushing touchdown of the day. The point after pushed Washington ahead 21-20 the first lead change the team has been a part of all season.
Down 23-21 after a long Fairbairn kick, McCoy’s magic started to fade and he took a sack on third down. The Texans regained possession with 4:38 and ran down the clock, but Fairbairn missed his second field goal of the day with less than a minute, lighting some hope within the Redskins’ faithful.
But Washington got as far as Houston’s 45, then trotted Dustin Hopkins on for a 63-yard field goal attempt to win the game which fell at least five yards short.