Every leader has a defining moment, and Alex Smith’s moment came against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week No. 3 of the 2013 preseason.
Smith solidified himself as the quarterback of this team late in the second quarter of the Chiefs 26-20 overtime win in Pittsburgh. It may have been Chase Daniel who threw the game winning touchdown in overtime, but it was Smith who made the statement Saturday night.
With a minute and eight seconds left in the second half, Smith hit Dwayne Bowe for 35 yard. Smith was scrambling to the right when he found Bowe, and was hit hard by Steelers safety Troy Polamalu right after he released the football.
It was a jarring hit by the Steelers’ safety, and it drew a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Unfortunately, Smith’s reaction to the hit can’t be found in the stat books, but the way Kansas City’s quarterback responded was the highlight of the night, in this analyst’s opinion.
Smith hopped right back up and looked unfazed by the hit. He had a good pep in his step, and he went on to finish off the drive with a touchdown to Junior Hemingway with 21 seconds left in the half.
Here’s what Chiefs’ wideout Dwayne Bowe had to say about his quarterback, per Reid Ferrin of KCChiefs.com:
“That’s what he does,” Bowe said of Smith. ”Just standing in the pocket, making the throws he has to. Also, he makes the checks and locates the mike to help the linemen out. He’s just an all-around quarterback. He’s going to stick in there and get us the ball. Remember, he wants to win too with us.”
It was just one touchdown drive in the preseason, so ultimately it was meaningless. With that said, I firmly believe that if Kansas City goes on to have success in 2013, that drive is going to be looked back on as the moment Smith took over this offense.
Quarterbacks are often times looked at as the “pretty boys” of the team, but that’s usually far from the truth. No position is more physically and mentally demanding than quarterback, and it takes a great player to really thrive at the position.
Not only does the quarterback have to know the playbook inside and out, but he has to know the defense inside and out as well.
The quarterback is often times the hardest worker on the team, and he’s often times one of the most well-respected too.
The thing is, every quarterback has to earn that respect.
With that said, I firmly believe that Smith earned respect and solidified himself as the leader of the Chiefs’ offense during that final drive of the half.
Not only did he bounce back from a huge hit, but remember, he also bounced back from a pretty bad performance against the 49ers at Arrowhead.
I also firmly believe that good players find a way to bounce back from bad games, so I was eagerly anticipating Smith’s performance against the Steelers.
He bounced back when the 49ers shut him down and he bounced back when Polamalu put him on the ground.
Smith is a quarterback who has proven he can bounce back from adversity, and in the NFL—a league where nothing comes easy—that’s the type of quarterback you want leading your team.