The Washington Football Team trails the Los Angeles Rams, 20-10 at the break. Here are three takeaways from the first two quarters:
1. The miraculous return of Alex Smith.
After 693 days, 17 surgeries and a harrowing recovery, quarterback Alex Smith achieved his ultimate goal of playing again Sunday. Upon replacing starter Kyle Allen, who left the game in the second quarter with an arm injury and is questionable to return, Smith completed five of his six passes for 35 yards.
Following an interception from Kendall Fuller with less than a minute to play in the half, Smith orchestrated a much-needed field goal drive before the half.
For those concerned about Smith's health, he was sacked by perennial All-Pro Aaron Donald, popped off the turf and jogged to the sideline as the punt team came on. He then led Washington to points on the ensuing drive.
2. Washington has struggled to contain the Rams' offense.
The Rams did whatever they wanted to in the opening 30 minutes. Their first three drives ended in touchdowns, all of which were at least 60 yards, and quarterback Jared Goff started the game 13-for-14 with 194 yards and two touchdowns (one rushing and one passing). Washington's defense, which entered Sunday allowing 338.3 yards per game, gave up 251 over the first two quarters.
Big plays continue to be an issue for defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio's unit. On the Rams' second touchdown, Kendall Fuller passed off Robert Woods to Landon Collins, but Collins was not there to pick him up. That left Woods running free down the sideline, and after catching the ball in stride he beat both Fuller and Collins for a 56-yard score.
On the Rams' next possession, tight end Gerald Everett caught the ball with no one around him and picked up 40 yards before being touched. Three plays later, Goff scrambled for a two-yard touchdown to make the score, 20-7, midway through the second quarter.
3. Kyle Allen got off to a fast start.
Washington's offense was lined up at the Rams' seven-yard line when Kyle Allen stepped up in the pocket and started sprinting towards the end zone. He had reached the left pylon when Troy Hill grabbed the former undrafted free agent and brought him to the ground, but not before Allen had crossed the goal line to give Washington its first score of the game.
The play capped off an impressive response from Washington, which had just given up a touchdown on the Rams' opening drive. Allen and the offense marched 73 yards downfield on 10 plays and took nearly six minutes off the clock. Contributions from Antonio Gibson, who had 28 total yards on the drive, and a roughing the passer call on Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, kept the offense on the field to set up Allen's score.
Allen, who left the game in the second quarter with an arm injury, completed nine of his 13 passes for 74 yards.