Smith looks to get Washington on track vs. Lions
Set to make his first NFL start since a leg injury that threatened his life nearly two years ago, Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith remains steadfast about his health and ability.
“I get paid to play quarterback,” Smith said, “and I’m going to do whatever is asked of me.”
Still in the division title hunt amid the parity of the NFC East, Washington (2-6) will look to Smith for leadership Sunday against the host Detroit Lions, who at 3-5 also are hoping to spark a rally during the second half of the season.
Smith, 36, entered Washington’s Week 9 game against the visiting New York Giants after Kyle Allen suffered a dislocated ankle. Smith passed for 325 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in an eventual 23-20 loss, with his final pick coming during the closing minutes, thwarting a potential game-tying or winning drive.
According to the Washington Post, Allen is set to travel to Green Bay, Wis., this week to have surgery with Dr. Robert Anderson on Friday.
The result against the Giants notwithstanding, Smith showed marked improvement from a Week 5 appearance, when he passed for 37 yards on 2.2 yards per attempt in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
“I wasn’t thinking about my foot out there, my leg,” Smith said. “Just playing. I feel more comfortable. … No question, I really felt good moving around. Making things happen and playing faster.”
Detroit has lost two in a row as it searches for its first victory at Ford Field this season. The Lions are coming off last week’s 34-20 road loss to the Minnesota Vikings, a defensive debacle that saw them allow Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook to rush for 206 yards and two touchdowns on 9.4 yards per carry.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 220 yards and three touchdowns while completing 65 percent of his passes.
During the week, Lions coach Matt Patricia discussed the importance of keeping a level approach despite the team’s struggles, which include three instances over the past two weeks in which the team sent just 10 defensive players onto the field.
“Obviously, there’s good weeks and bad weeks, but staying consistent is one of the best ways that we can judge improvement, you know,” Patricia said. “I think that if you don’t stay consistent, then the swings really mask whether you’ve gotten better or gotten worse, and I think from that standpoint, it’s good for us to just stay level so that we can always evaluate.”
Although the Lions gained 421 total yards at Minnesota, they struggled to sustain offensive momentum. Matthew Stafford, who has been a full participant in practice this week despite a neck injury, will aim to improve from an uneven performance last week.
Stafford threw for 211 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions against the Vikings and now faces a Washington defense that has seven players with at least two sacks, and 27 sacks overall.
Wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hip) did not practice Wednesday. The Lions have won three of the four full games in which Golladay has played this season. Washington has allowed an average of just 185.6 passing yards a game, fewest in the NFL.
Washington running back Bryce Love returned to practice Wednesday following an extended stint on injured reserve with a knee injury. Washington receiver Dontrelle Inman (hamstring) and running back Antonio Gibson (shoulder) did not practice.
–Field Level Media