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Will Alex Smith’s Win over Ben Roethlisberger Help in Comeback Player of Year Voting?

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Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s recovery at age 38 from elbow surgery has been nothing short of remarkable, with Roethlisberger leading the Pittsburgh offense to an 11-1 start to the 2020 season and into Super Bowl contention once again after tearing three tendons in his throwing elbow in 2019.

The turnaround has many talking about Roethlisberger as a prime candidate to win the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award, but he has stiff competition that got even tougher on Monday night.

Washington quarterback Alex Smith is back on the field this season after an even more horrific injury than Roethlisberger’s. Smith nearly lost his right leg after suffering a compound fracture.

Smith has resurrected Washington’s seasons since returning to action. He’s started the team’s last four games, the last three of which have been wins, including Monday’s upset of the previously unbeaten Steelers.

In the eight games without Smith as a starter, Washington was 2-6. Since he’s returned to the top spot, the team is 3-1.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex preparing for a Week 1 matchup against the New York Giants, Monday, Sept. 7, 2020 in Pittsburgh, PA. (Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers)

It’s not clear how close the race is between the veteran quarterbacks, as the award is voted on by an Associated Press panel at the end of the season. But betting markets have shown Smith as the current favorite, and his head-to-head win over Roethlisberger on Monday bettered his odds.

Smith entered the week as a 1/15 favorite, according to BetOnline.ag, with Roethlisberger at 7/1 and the only other player listed on the board. After the Washington win, Smith’s odds shortened to 1/50, while Roethlisberger’s lengthened to 12/1.

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