LANDOVER — Alex Smith got up from the ground and smiled. On his very first play in a Redskins uniform, the 34-year-old quarterback was just slammed to the FedEx Field grass — brought down by New York Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins.
But rest assured, the new face of the Redskins was OK.
Smith overcame a brief scare Thursday and looked solid in Washington’s 15-13 win. The veteran quarterback threw for 48 yards against the New York Jets, completing four of his six passes.
Though he played only one series, the Redskins quarterback commanded the pocket, leading Washington on an 11-play, 71-yard drive that resulted in three points. He dinked-and-dunked his way down the field, showing patience in his reads to find his receivers.
To open the game, Smith dropped back on a play-action pass and found receiver Paul Richardson for an eight-yard gain — but he was blasted as he got the ball out, which prompted a roughing the passer penalty.
For his next completion, Smith found a familiar target: tight end Vernon Davis. The two were teammates for years in San Francisco. And against the Jets, they were again on the same page — this time for a 16-yard strike.
Smith had two more completions — 11 yards to Josh Doctson and 13 yards for Rob Kelley — before the Redskins’ offense stalled in the red zone. On third-and-goal, rookie wideout Trey Quinn dropped a catchable pass in the end zone that forced the Redskins to settle for a field goal.
Even without a touchdown, the Redskins were pleased with Smith’s debut.
The Redskins didn’t plan for Smith to see serious action, either. The plan was for Smith to play one series, which made sense given Washington was without left tackle Trent Williams — the team’s best pass blocker — and the result of the game didn’t matter.
Still, fans and teammates were anxious to see how Smith looked with the Redskins.
After all, Washington invested a significant amount of resources in Smith this offseason — trading promising cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs, giving him a four-year, $94 million extension ($71 million guaranteed) and agreeing to move on from Kirk Cousins.
The worst thing that could have happened for the Redskins is if Smith suffered an injury before the season began. But for now, he came out clean.
Washington, however, couldn’t say the same for a few others.
The team’s injuries at running back continued — with Samaje Perine (ankle) and Byron Marshall (lower leg) both leaving prematurely. Last week, the Redskins lost second-rounder Derrius Guice to a torn ACL after the rookie was hurt in the team’s preseason opener in New England.
Coach Jay Gruden will provide further updates on the two in his post-game press conference.
Elsewhere, the Redskins first-team defense had an impressive showing.
Sam Darnold, drafted third overall, started for the Jets and Washington did its best to make life difficult for the rookie. On the Jets’ first drive, rookie Daron Payne bulldozed through the center of the Jets offensive line and brought Darnold down for the sack.
Later on, Redskins linebacker Preston Smith recorded another sack and Darnold also threw an interception. Safety Deshazor Everett made a great play on the ball, tipping it while rookie Troy Apke hauled in the pick.
Darnold played the entire first half, going 8-for-11 for 62 yards.
In the second half, Dustin Hopkins hit a 40-yard field goal as time expired to give the Redskins the win.