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Alex Smith suffers broken leg in Redskins' loss

Washington's season has taken the ugliest of turns.

Starting quarterback Alex Smith suffered a broken leg in the third quarter of Sunday's 23-21 loss to the Houston Texans, Redskins coach Jay Gruden told reporters. The 34-year-old passer underwent surgery Sunday night, NFL Newtork Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

"I know it was very painful for [Smith] and heartbreaking for a lot of people," Gruden said after the game. "He's a great guy and a hard worker and one of the key leaders on this football team. These things happen in pro football unfortunately. You just hate to see them happen to a guy like Alex. But knowing the type of guy he is, I think he'll bounce back."

Smith suffered the gruesome season-ending injury after being thrown to the ground by Texans defenders Kareem Jackson and J.J. Watt. Colt McCoy quickly took over with the Redskins trailing 17-7, engineering a quick touchdown march to pull Washington within three points.

McCoy's comeback attempt ultimately fell short, however, as Dustin Hopkins could not connect on a game-winning 63-yard field goal try at the end of the game.

Smith joined Washington from the Kansas City Chiefs via trade this offseason and was in the middle of a solid season. Smith will end his first year in D.C. with 2,180 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions.

The starting quarterback going forward, McCoy has been with the Redskins since 2014, when he started four games behind Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins on the depth chart. Before Sunday, the 32-year-old QB had not attempted a pass since 2015. He finished Sunday's game with 54 passing yards, 35 rushing yards and a touchdown pass.

Washington currently employs just two quarterbacks on its roster, Smith and McCoy, and will need to add a backup quarterback to the active roster in the coming days. Sources told Rapoport that the Redskins are working out unemployed veterans Kellen Clemens, EJ Manuel, Mark Sanchez, Josh Johnson, and T.J. Yates on Monday. Gurden said wide receiver Trey Quinn was the emergency quarterback if McCoy got hurt Sunday.

The Redskins (6-4) are clinging to a tight lead in the NFC East, but face a quick turnaround before Thursday's Thanksgiving Day showdown with the Cowboys (5-5).

With Smith sidelined, an already struggling, ground-oriented attack finds itself in a world of hurt in Washington.

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