Alex Smith Returns, Dak Prescott Bows Out and Other Takeaways From Week 5 of the NFL

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Photo: Tom Pennington (Getty Images)

This weekend was a lot, so let’s get to it.

Alex Smith Returns, Dak Prescott Makes His Gruesome Exodus

In April, curiosity got the best of me. So like millions of other people, I watched ESPN’s Project 11, which documented Alex Smith’s improbable quest to return to the field after suffering one of the most catastrophic injuries in professional sports: a compound fracture in his right leg that resulted in a broken tibia and fibula.


If this sounds bad, his injury somehow became even more horrifying after it was infected with a flesh-eating bacteria that forced him to undergo a total of 17 surgeries over the course of nine fucking months—leaving his leg looking like The Crypt Keeper as doctors mulled if it would just be easier to amputate it and tell Smith to cast his leg in the next Saw movie.

After watching Project 11, I was 1,000 percent convinced that the three-time Pro Bowler would never play in an NFL game again. But with should-be franchise quarterback Dwayne Haskins struggling on the field and backup Kyle Allen reminding everyone why he went undrafted in 2018, Smith’s number got called and the 36-year-old took the field for the Washington Football Team for his first game in almost two years—to his family’s delight.


Yes, he was rusty, and yes, he struggled on the field—he was sacked six times and only threw for a total of 37 yards in a 30-10 ass-whooping against the Rams—but who gives a shit? This man defied the odds and somehow—somehow—returned to the game he loves. Can you imagine how much anxiety he was playing with? Or how fearful he was that he may reinjure that leg? If he never plays another down this season, he’s still an automatic lock for Comeback Player of the Year.

What an incredible story.

On the flipside, Dak Prescott had a lot riding on this season. After failing to agree to terms with the Cowboys this summer, the two-time Pro Bowler decided to bet on himself and play this year on the franchise tag. The Cowboys stumbled out the gate against the Giants on Sunday and were in the midst of potentially extending their two-game skid when this (click at your own risk) happened in the third quarter:


ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Dak had successful surgery on the ankle and will be out for four-to-six months as he recovers, making his contract negotiations after this season extremely interesting. Will Dallas put a ring on it despite his injury? Or will they continue to try to play him and not pay him?


The Broncos Got Screwed by the Coronavirus

As if their rash of disastrous injuries weren’t enough, the Broncos, who were scheduled to play the Cam Newton and Stephon Gilmore-less Patriots on Monday, found out that their Week 5 game would be postponed to next Sunday after the Patriots reported another positive coronavirus test on Sunday, per CNN.


This means that in an unprecedented season already rife with devastating injuries and scheduling hell due to the coronavirus, their bye week has been effectively erased since they spent what would’ve been their bye week practicing and preparing for the Patriots instead of resting their bodies.

Understandably, several Broncos players took to Twitter to air out their frustrations at a season that continues to unravel due to COVID-19.


At this point, the NFL needs to strongly consider the forfeiture of games because all this plug-and-play nonsense going on with rescheduling due to positive coronavirus tests isn’t sustainable and is significantly impacting the integrity of the game. So now the Broncos have to face a Pats team that not only might have Newton and Gilmore back on the field but will have two weeks of preparation and rest? That’s bullshit.


Don’t Be Mad, Dan Quinn—UPS Is Hiring

The Atlanta Falcons have been an embarrassment to humankind all season and after dropping to 0-5 against the Panthers, owner Arthur Blank finally threw coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff out the front door like Uncle Phil did Jazz.


“Decisions like these are very difficult, but the previous two seasons and start to this one have been especially hard for me because of the deep love, admiration and respect I and my family have for Dan, Thomas and their families,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement. “For many years, they have represented me, our team, organization and Atlanta with class, commitment and all the passion you would want in the leaders of the team.”

ESPN reports that in the interim, team president Rich McKay will assume day-to-day oversight of football operations, and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris will be interim head coach.


In other news, the Falcons will still be trash.

Who Balled Out This Week

  • The Cleveland Browns. At 4-1 for the first time since 1994, they’re legit...right? Especially with OBJ returning to form and doing shit like this:
  • Calvin Ridley and Todd Gurley might’ve caught an L against the Panthers, but they did the damn thing with a combined 257 yards and one touchdown.
  • Troy Reeder collected three sacks (leave Alex Smith alone!) in the Rams 30-10 destruction of the Washington Football Team.
  • Kyler Murray (380 throwing yards, two total TDs) and Deandre Hopkins (131 yards, 1 TD) continue to make magic together as they wrecked the Jets 30-10.



Why is DEN-NE being postponed for 3 positive cases while Titans-Bills isn’t, when the Titans have 30 positive cases?