By the Associated Press
Top pick Joe Burrow was carted off with a left knee injury before Alex Smith rallied Washington past the Cincinnati Bengals 20-9 to keep his team in the thick of the NFC East race.
Burrow, Cincinnati’s franchise quarterback, was injured early in the third quarter when he was hit high and low by two Washington linemen after throwing a pass. His left leg bent awkwardly, and he couldn’t put any weight on it, ending his day at 22-of-34 passing for 203 yards and a touchdown.
His season appears over, too. Burrow tweeted: “Thanks for all the love. Can’t get rid of me that easy. See ya next year.”
Burrow’s departure allowed Smith and Washington (3-7) to take over and move a half-game back of Philadelphia for first place in the NFL’s weakest division. Just after Burrow left, the 36-year-old Smith — who broke his right tibia and fibula on the same field just over two years ago — led a go-ahead, 55-yard scoring drive that ended with a 3-yard TD pass to Steven Sims.
In his second start since that gruesome injury Nov. 18, 2018, Smith was 17 of 25 for 166 yards and had a pass intercepted after it was tipped late in the first half.
Washington rookie running back Antonio Gibson ran for 94 yards and a TD.
Burrow’s replacement, Ryan Finley, couldn’t do much for Cincinnati (2-7-1), which didn’t punt once in the first half with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner at the helm. Finley was 3 of 10 for 30 yards and an interception in the final minutes.