Nov 26, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Washington Football Team defensive end Chase Young (99) is double teamed by Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Cameron Erving (75) and offensive guard Connor Williams (52) during the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Washington thumps Dallas with fourth-quarter flurry

Antonio Gibson rushed for three touchdowns Thursday, the second coming after an ill-fated fake punt by the Dallas Cowboys deep in their territory, as the Washington Football Team climbed into first place in the NFC East with a 41-16 win at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Gibson collected 115 yards on 20 carries as Washington improved to 4-7, passing Philadelphia (3-6-1) for the division lead. Quarterback Alex Smith completed 19 of 26 passes for 149 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Andy Dalton connected on 25 of 35 attempts for 215 yards with a score and a pick that was returned 15 yards for a touchdown by Montez Sweat with 3:24 left in the game. That capped a stretch of three Washington scores in nine minutes.

The first came one play after Cedrick Wilson lost a yard on a 4th-and-10 fake punt from the Dallas 24. Gibson raced 23 yards off right tackle on the next play for a 27-16 lead with 12:07 left. Gibson then added a 37-yard touchdown run at the 3:31 mark.

Dallas initiated scoring with the first of three Greg Zuerlein field goals, a 33-yarder at the 8:33 mark in the first quarter. But Washington took a 7-3 lead with 1:37 left on Gibson’s 5-yard touchdown run, capping a 12-play drive that featured a 28-yard pass from tight end — and former college quarterback — Logan Thomas to Terry McLaurin.

Dalton put the Cowboys ahead 10-7 when he hit Amari Cooper in stride behind cornerback Ronald Darby for a 54-yard scoring strike 44 seconds into the second quarter. Washington tied it seven minutes later on Dustin Hopkins’ 23-yard field goal.

Thomas caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Smith with 2:30 remaining in the half, and Zuerlein drew Dallas within 17-13 on a 32-yard field goal 23 seconds before intermission.

Hopkins converted a 36-yard field goal, six plays after Ezekiel Elliott lost a fumble via replay review, just over four minutes into the third quarter. Zuerlein hit from 28 later in the period, but the Cowboys started the drive on the Washington 4 after a 43-yard interception return by Jaylon Smith.

Dallas fell into the division cellar at 3-8.

–Field Level Media

Aug 19, 2020; Ashburn, Virginia, USA; The helmet of Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson (not pictutred) rests on equipment on day twenty-two of training camp at Inova Sports Performance Center in Ashburn, Virginia. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Football Team player tests positive for COVID-19

An unidentified player for the Washington Football Team tested positive for COVID-19, the team said Tuesday.

Per the team, the player immediately self-isolated and contact tracing data was evaluated.

“Our organization has entered the NFL’s intensive protocols,” the team said in a statement. “All meetings this week will be conducted virtually, and the Inova Sports Performance Center will only be open to staff with limited access granted to the players.”

According to the NFL Network, the player in question didn’t accompany the team for Washington’s 30-27 loss in Detroit on Sunday. He also didn’t visit the team’s facility in Ashburn, Va., over the past three days.

Washington (2-7) hosts Cincinnati (2-6-1) on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

–Field Level Media

Nov 15, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws a pass against the Detroit Lions during the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Smith might be Washington’s best QB option for 2021

Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera is starting to believe his 2021 quarterback is on the current roster. A guy named Alex Smith.

Rivera has been impressed with Smith’s production over the past two weeks as the 36-year-old has put up yardage outputs of 325 and 390 yards after replacing injured Kyle Allen (ankle).

Smith has gone from feel-good story to the best quarterback option for the Washington Football Team. Smith suffered a gruesome right leg injury two years ago, a setback so severe that amputation was a possibility. He endured 17 surgeries before he was deemed clear to return to football earlier this year.

“You judge him by his performance,” Rivera told reporters on Monday. “You don’t get caught up in his story, you don’t get caught up in his age. Now, when you talk about going forward, now you talk about these other things.”

Other things typically include the contract for an older NFL player. Smith is due $40 million in base salary over the next two seasons as part of a four-year, $94 million pact.

Also, can Smith be counted on to perform at a high level over a 17-game NFL season? That will be part of the evaluation process.

“You’ve got to look at how much longer do you think he can play? How much longer does he want to play? And if so, is he part of your plan? That’s something that we as a coaching staff and as an organization have to talk about, most certainly if this continues, if he continues to play at this high level.”

The one thing Rivera does know is the old Alex Smith is now on the field for Washington. At least it appeared that way as Smith completed 38 of 55 passes against the Detroit Lions in his first start since suffering the compound fracture of the right tibia and a fracture of the right fibula in a game against the Houston Texans on Nov. 18, 2018.

“He’s pretty much back,” Rivera said. “There’s still some things that he still has to work on, and he knows that, and he’ll continue to work on them, but this really was his first full week of work. But I think that he’s proven that he’s back as the player, and again, that’s something that we’re going to most certainly discuss going forward.”

Smith was also encouraged despite the team’s 30-27 setback. He has been sacked 10 times in three appearances and the leg has held up fine.

“That was the scary part is how normal it felt,” Smith said of Sunday’s game. “I’ve got to pinch myself how lucky I am to feel that way. I’m lucky to progress this far and that I am where I am.”

Smith was a three-time Pro Bowler in five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs (2013-17) before being traded to Washington. He also was the No. 1 overall selection of the San Francisco 49ers in 2005 and started 75 games for that franchise.

Perhaps another factor in Smith’s favor for next season is that Rivera doesn’t appear overly fond of 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins. Rivera inherited Haskins and recently said the quarterback needs to work on his preparation skills.

Haskins began the season as the starter and passed for 939 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions before losing the job to Allen. He was sacked 13 times in four games.

–Field Level Media

Nov 15, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions running back Adrian Peterson (28) runs the ball toward Washington Football Team cornerback Ronald Darby (23) during the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Prater’s 59-yard FG lifts Lions over Washington

Matt Prater drilled a 59-yard field goal as time expired and the Detroit Lions posted their first home win after squandering a 21-point lead, edging the Washington Football Team 30-27 on Sunday.

A roughing-the-passer penalty against Washington rookie Chase Young in the closing seconds aided the Lions (4-5), who led 24-3 in the third quarter.

Matthew Stafford passed for 276 yards and three touchdowns, while Marvin Jones caught eight passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. D’Andre Swift had a combined 149 yards from scrimmage and hauled in one of Stafford’s scoring tosses.

Alex Smith threw for 390 yards for Washington (2-7), while Antonio Gibson rushed for 45 yards and two scores.

Following a three-and-out by the Lions, Washington tied the game at 24-24 with 6:09 remaining on Gibson’s second touchdown, a 5-yard carry.

Prater put Detroit back on top with a 37-yard field goal with 2:37 remaining.

Pass interference and holding calls against the Lions allowed Washington to keep its final drive going and Dustin Hopkins drilled a game-tying 41-yard field goal with 16 seconds left.

Detroit jumped to a 17-3 halftime advantage.

The Lions struck first midway through the opening quarter. Marvin Hall was left wide open when cornerback Kendall Fuller fell down and he cruised into the end zone for a 55-yard touchdown.

Washington followed with a nine-play drive that ended with Hopkins’ 38-yard field goal.

Stafford’s second touchdown pass lifted the Lions to an 11-point lead. He found Jones along the left side on a 27-yard play early in the second quarter.

Detroit then drove 34 yards to set up Prater’s 53-yard field goal.

The Lions upped their lead to 24-3 when Swift caught a Stafford pass over the middle and charged into the end zone on a 15-yard hookup midway through the third quarter.

Washington finally showed some signs of life on its next possession, driving 82 yards in 11 plays. J.D. McKissic scored on a 2-yard run after Smith hit Logan Thomas on a fourth-down pass to keep the drive going.

An 11-play, 84-yard drive pulled Washington within one score. Gibson’s 2-yard rushing touchdown came with 11:21 remaining.

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Kyle Allen (8) sits on a cart after being injured by being tripped by New York Giants strong safety Jabrill Peppers (not pictured) while scrambling in the first quarter at FedExField. Allen was injured on the play. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington QB Allen says ankle surgery successful

Washington Football Team quarterback Kyle Allen said Saturday he has undergone successful surgery on his left ankle after suffering the season-ending injury in Week 9 against the New York Giants.

Allen, who is out for the year, used Instagram to say he’s optimistic that he will make a full recovery and be ready for next season. Allen was replaced in the starting lineup by Alex Smith, who will start for Washington (2-6) against the Lions (3-5) on Sunday in Detroit.

Allen, 24, has thrown for 610 yards, with four touchdowns and an interception. He’s completed 69 percent of his passes and Washington is 1-3 in his starts.

Allen replaced Dwayne Haskins as the Washington starter prior to the team’s Week 5 home loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Allen, a third-year pro, appeared in 15 games, with 13 starts, over 2018-19 with the Carolina Panthers.

Haskins, who Washington picked in the first round (15th overall) out of Ohio State in 2019, threw for 2,304 yards with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while appearing in 13 games over the last two seasons. Washington had a 3-8 record in his 11 starts.

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA;  Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) attempts a pass against the New York Giants during the fourth quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

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

Nov 8, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) passes the ball under pressure from Washington Football Team defensive end Ryan Kerrigan (91) in the first quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Giants hold on to defeat Washington for fifth straight time

Logan Ryan intercepted Alex Smith with 1:15 remaining as the New York Giants nearly squandered another lead but held on for a 23-20 victory over host Washington Football Team on Sunday.

The Giants (2-7) beat Washington (2-6) for the fifth straight time and appeared moments away from blowing a 17-point lead.

On second-and-6 at Washington’s 32-yard line, Smith dropped back and threw a ball intended for Terry McLaurin over the middle of the field but Ryan stepped in front of the receiver and made the interception to secure the win.

Daniel Jones did not throw an interception for the second time this season. He completed 23-of-34 passes for 212 yards and threw a 16-yard touchdown to tight end Evan Engram.

Graham Gano kicked three field goals on a day in which the Giants forced five turnovers and gained 166 rushing yards.

Washington, which lost to the Giants by one point in Week 6, lost quarterback Kyle Allen to a serious ankle injury with 1:04 remaining in the first quarter.

NFL Network reported that Allen was diagnosed with a dislocation and a small fracture. Allen is slated to undergo an MRI exam on Monday, according to another report.

Smith, who returned from his own serious leg injury last month after being injured during a game in November 2018, was 24-for-32 for 325 yards and a 68-yard TD to McLaurin. Smith also was intercepted three times, unable to direct his 24th career game-winning drive.

McLaurin finished with seven receptions for 115 yards and the score.

The Giants capitalized on two Washington turnovers to take a 10-0 lead in the first 10-plus minutes, and led 20-3 at the half.

Julius Peppers recovered a fumble by Washington receiver Antonio Gibson at New York’s 19-yard line with 11:49 left and, after Austin Mack’s 50-yard reception on the next play, Gano made his 16th straight field goal with 9:35 remaining to cap a seven-play drive.

The Giants went up 10-0 shortly after Madre Harper recovered a fumble by punt returner Isaiah Wright. Wayne Gallman breezed into the end zone four plays later with 4:15 left.

Washington quickly moved down the field to start the second half and got within 20-10 on Antonio Gibson’s 1-yard plunge, but the Giants went up 23-10 on Gano’s third field goal.

After getting a 44-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins in the opening seconds of the fourth, Washington got within 23-20 after McLaurin took Smith’s pass 68 yards for a score, eluding tackles by Ryan and Isaac Yiadom with 10:24 remaining.

–Field Level Media