Miracle Boy Alex Smith and Washington Football Team Upset Pittsburgh Steelers 23-17, Ending their 13-Game Win Streak

Washington quarterback Alex Smith passes during Washington’s 23-17 upset win over the previously unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday.(AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

The Washington Football team crafted one of its best comeback wins in years, led by a man who knows all about comebacks.

Quarterback Alex Smith, whose career appeared over two years ago because of his gruesome leg injury, helped rally Washington to a stunning 23-17 victory over the previously unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers (11-1).

Trailing 14-0 in the first half, and showing little to no life offensively, Washington stormed back in the second half.

Smith completed 31 of 46 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown. He was far from the lone hero, but his steady hand has helped a young team in need of guidance.

Meanwhile, Washington kept pace with the New York Giants in the NFC East. Both teams are now 5-7 with four games remaining after each pulled off an upset win on the road. Washington is 4-2 in its past six games, though three of those wins came vs. a wounded Dallas team and the Cincinnati Bengals.

But beating the Steelers, while rallying from a two-touchdown deficit, was the kind of win Washington needed to show the progress it’s making under first-year coach Ron Rivera. The offense, missing running back Antonio Gibson, came to life thanks to tight end Logan Thomas, receiver Cam Sims and running back J.D. McKissic. All made big plays to spark the offense; Thomas caught nine passes for 98 yards and a touchdown.

There was also defensive end Montez Sweat. While there has been heavy attention given to rookie end Chase Young, it’s Sweat’s improvement that has helped fuel Washington’s defensive improvement. Sweat, who returned an interception for a touchdown vs. Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, tipped three passes Monday — including one that was intercepted by linebacker Jon Bostic at the two-minute warning. Sweat also dominated against the run.

Washington showed that it has resolve as well as a young talent base that has provided hope for a fan base in desperate need of any signs of life.

Washington’s defense also had a goal-line stand in the first half, shutting down Pittsburgh on four tries inside the 1-yard line. Young made a nice stop, Sweat had a tipped pass and the defense gave Washington momentum.

Washington’s defense held Pittsburgh to 21 yards rushing on 14 carries.

After a rough summer because of so much controversy surrounding the franchise, Washington has become a feel-good story during the season. Whether it ends up winning the division becomes somewhat irrelevant. For the first time in a while, Washington is headed in the right direction.

Rivera stayed on the field to congratulate his players as they headed to the locker room, something he said he never does. But he said he wanted to do so because they “earned it.”

“This is up there,” he said of where the win ranks for him. “In spite of some decisions I made today. They played their asses off. This really does rank up there because of who we beat. That’s one of the storied franchises. To come in and win, that was big for our guys.”

“We’re on a roll,” Sweat said.

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