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Mahomes magic to the Bills’ rise: five gifts the NFL gave us in 2020

With the festive season upon us, we reflect on reasons for football fans to be thankful as the year draws to an end

Alex Smith was the deserved comeback player of the year before the season even began. His indescribable resolve pulled him through the spiral and compound fracture to his right tibia and fibula in 2018 that led to 17 surgeries after developing necrotizing fasciitis and onto Washington’s roster as their third-string quarterback for 2020. The 36-year-old came within 24 hours of losing his leg after his injury but was determined to eventually take a snap at FedExField. But would we see Smith as he sat behind Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Allen? Absolutely. Haskins’s underwhelming play meant he was scratched as the starter against the LA Rams and Allen stepped up. But injury struck and Smith was finally back, a mere 693 days since his last appearance under center. The veteran naturally completed his first pass with a quick strike to JD McKissick for six yards. As starter Smith delivered his first victory in 742 days for Washington against Cincinnati. “Just another thing I never thought I’d be doing,” said Smith. So far, so incredible. But the best was yet to come. A short trip to Pittsburgh to face the all-conquering, undefeated Steelers at 11-0 with his own team struggling at 4-7. So much for that. Smith erased Pittsburgh throwing for 296 yards and a crucial touchdown to tie the game in the fourth quarter that Dustin Hopkins converted to a stunning 23-17 win with two late field goals. NFL lore meet Alex Smith.

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