Alex Smith Can Spell Redemption With a Playoff Victory Against the Colts

Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Smith only know how to spell redemption one way. P-L-A-Y-O-F-F  V-I-C-T-O-R-Y

The man has had quite a year and a half. Just over midway through last season, Smith was the starting quarterback for another franchise, the San Francisco 49ers. He had led his team to the NFC Championship Game the year before, falling just short of punching a ticket to the Superbowl against the eventual champion New York Giants. Last season, he was well on his way to taking his team back to the big dance when he was hit in the head and missed a game due to a concussion.

That Week 10 match up last season would prove to be his last as a starter for the 49ers, a tenure that proved to have its ups and downs.

Sep 23, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith (11) puts his head down after throwing an interception during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the 49ers 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

After surviving through a different offensive coordinator — and thus different offensive system — every year he spent in San Francisco, not to mention three head coaches, it’s no wonder Smith was eager to leave the train wreck behind.

He was blamed for the poor performance of the 49ers from day one, but never given the offensive weapons — or system — needed to succeed. The history of Smith has been well documented, as has his transition to the Chiefs, and I won’t try to rehash it here. What I will say that for this “marriage” to finally be “consummated” the Chiefs need a playoff win.

Would the 49ers have released Smith outright from his contract had they not found a trading partner for his services? I don’t think it very likely. Jim Harbaugh isn’t stupid and neither is general manager Trent Baalke. They knew that they had a good quarterback on their roster and let’s face it; the NFL is a business. Good feelings and “thanks for what you’ve done for us” be damned, they’re not going to give something for nothing. That’s why they wouldn’t release Smith and it’s why the Chiefs ended up paying the price for him that they did.

With Alex coming to Kansas City, there was a lot of expectations. He would be playing under famed “QB Whisperer” Andy Reid. Though he wasn’t a Reid draftee, the Chiefs new head coach had reportedly been quite high on Smith since his college days and had even contacted the 49ers about a trade for Smith earlier, when he was still coaching the Philadelphia Eagles.

With a 1-1 playoff record and coming off of a season and a half of good performance, Smith was expected to produce immediately — even if nobody would say it. The last thing this fan base wanted was another Matt Cassel debacle.

With the team starting out 9-0 before the bye week, the expectations got higher and higher with each week. Granted, Smith wasn’t lighting up the stat book or the scoreboard. In fact, of the 23 touchdowns Smith threw this season, only nine came before the break in Week 10. During that nine game winning streak, Smith went three games without even throwing a TD pass.

Regardless, he managed Reid’s offensive system well, and put play makers like Jamaal Charles in position to score touchdowns on the ground. The fact that the Chiefs had the best defense in the league through nine games and one of the easiest schedules didn’t hurt either.

Of course going 2-5 in the final seven games including losing to every AFC playoff team they played (and twice to the Bronocs and Chargers) doesn’t instill much confidence. But how bad can it be? With the exception of the loss against the Colts two weeks ago, the Chiefs lost their other four games by a combined total of 23 points. That’s less than six points per game. To say they were in those games, is an understatement.

Dec 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) reacts after the Chiefs rushed for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders in the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Chiefs defeated the Raiders 56-31. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

But the real question is: Can Smith do what many think is the impossible with this Chiefs team. Can he take a squad that was 2-14 last season and do something no quarterback wearing the Red and Gold of the Chiefs has been able to do since Joe Montana wore the uniform? Can the team complete the Cinderella Story with a playoff win?

If they can, the two second round picks the Chiefs used to bring Smith to Kansas City would see to be well spent. However, if the Chiefs are “one and done” like so many playoff games since 1994, many will begin to question Smith’s worth immediately and the calls for a new quarterback will start anew.

It’s quite the monkey on your back, Mr. Smith. Now, it’s up to you.

Topics: Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

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  • Guest

    I hope people don’t start calling for his head if we don’t win. I fully hope to win, and I believe we can. But if we don’t, I don’t think Alex is to blame. He has done much better here towards the end of the season, throwing downfield a bit more. A number of key dropped passes haven’t helped his case. Either way, though, even if he doesn’t get us a playoff win (as though it’s his responsibility alone), he did help take a 2-14 team and get us TO the playoffs. I think that earned him some positive vibes. Plus, this is year one with a new coach, some new key players, and a new scheme. They can’t help but be better next year. At least, that is what I’m hoping for.

    • DoubleD

      What is this talk about next year? It’s all about right now!

      • toperspective

        You’re right but habits die hard

      • KCMikeG

        Plan for the future but live for the moment….

    • Doc

      Unfortunately, when our defense took off after the bye week, that is why we have lost games. It is not because the offense was producing and actually scoring TDs. When our defense headed south after the bye week and gave up 300+ yards to opposing offenses! well sort of hard to win when we can’t stop anybody. The second and third stringers played well last week and hopefully lit a fire in the first team to have them step it up a notch because those behind them could take their job. Hopefully the hunger is there with our team to dominate tomorrow so they can get another shot at Peyton and the donkeys the following week.

    • micah stephenson

      Omg. Those dropped passes was FIVE games ago!!! How many months and years are we gon use that as an excuse?

      • Jason Seibel

        The receivers drop passes every game.

        • Deadmeat

          Don’t argue with Micah, he is always right. Go Geno!!!

          • micah stephenson

            You so last yr! Its GO Bridgewater and Menzeil now!

        • micah stephenson

          There is no such thing as a wr that catches 100% of his passes. Funny how when Andrew Luck had Avery, he had 1000 yrds recieving as well as 2 other colts wrs. When the rest of our QBs not named Smith had Bowe he is a 1000 yard wr. Now with Smith nethier of them seem like a 1000 yrd wr. I bet if we had a better QB they would.

  • Calchiefsfan

    It will be interesting to see how tomorrow’s game plays out. So many questions. Alex Smith has done everything that has been asked of him so far. We have watched this offense improve over the course of the year as Smith and Co get more familiar with the system. It’s the defense that has dropped the ball after the bye week. If the Chiefs D can get it together tomorrow and start applying some pressure and make solid tackles then the Chiefs will win.

    I like the the line up for the o line tomorrow. I’m hoping that Smith gets the protection he needs. I have no idea the outcome of tomorrow’s game, they could lose ugly or dominate. I do expect a much better effort from the Chiefs players then the last time they played Indy. That was easily their worst game of the year.

    • sidibeke

      I don’t see the lose ugly. They haven’t really done that all year. The closest was the piss poor performance against Indy, and I think that was a playoff clinch hangover. I actually expect KC to dominate, maybe a Raider-like game where Indy claws its way back, but I think KC shows up to this game in a big way. I certainly hope so.

  • toperspective

    The 49ers wouldn’t have released Smith but nobody else would’ve given two second round picks. The Chiefs overpaid for Alex Smith. The team still doesn’t have a franchise quarterback and without a second round pick and they won’t get one this year either.

    • UsnCapt2003

      Cue the negative Nellie’s and haters

    • KCMikeG

      We have gotten more out of Smith already than the Skins have for 3 firsts and a second round pick in RGIII with his injuries and meltdowns ending the season on the bench. Smith could very well be the franchise QB, especially if he plays like he did for SF the last time he was in the playoffs. Many believe Bray is our long term solution and what better QB could he be learning under? AS11 is smart, takes care of the ball, is a leader and has won playoff games.

      • micah stephenson

        RG3 is a good QB. A lot of professionals been clownin Mike Shanahan!!! If Chip Kelley or a good coach had RG3 then look out!

        • KCMikeG

          A good QB doesn’t throw his teammates under the bus. A good QB is a team player and knows when he is hurting his team. He couldn’t stay healthy because he was convinced he is Superman and could do it all like he did in college. The NFL is not the same game and he won’t last. Plus they gave up 3 #1′s and a #2 compared to two #2′s. That’s more than twice what we gave for Smith. We are in the playoffs and they had the 2nd worst record. I’ll take that deal every day.

          • Deadmeat

            I believe he was more concerned about his endorsements, over football.

          • micah stephenson

            Yea but they got a ten yr guy that will get better and b a superstar and we still need a QB.

        • Jason Seibel

          Mike Shanahan has Superbowl rings. The “professionals” can clown him all they want. Until Chip Kelly has anything more than allegations of paying college players and cheating the NCAA system, I don’t think he can hold Shanahan’s jock strap.

          • micah stephenson

            Rings from way back when we was kids! Pay attetion to my brotha. Every analyst and player that comes on TV now clowns Shanahan. they wanted to fire him before week 17. We will keep an eye on if he gets another head coaching job and how he does the rest of his career.

          • toperspective

            So if you were an owner you would hire Mike Shanahan ? The guy is a disaster who will never coach in the NFL again . I’d take Kelly in a New York minute and I would guess most owners would also.

      • micah stephenson

        Isn’t a franchise QB a guy you want for 5-10 years? Alex ain’t that good to want him that long.

        • KCMikeG

          If he wins a playoff game or more this year there is no way we don’t resign him for 5 years. He will be a great mentor for the youngsters we draft to develop. Do you think Bray has potential to be our QBOTF? If so then would AS11 be a great teacher for him?

          • micah stephenson

            Bray has a lil potential, but why my team always got to go with the hand me down QBs or undrafted QBs? Why we can’t eva just draft a guy real real high a develope him? We always got to get the Cassel and Smith’s or now fans liking Chase and Tyler. We need to up the QB Standard around here. Its the most important position in a passing lg that broke a record for pts scored this yr.

          • toperspective

            It makes no sense to give a five-year contract to a guy that is mediocre. He’s not terrible but he just doesn’t have the skills to be anything more than mediocre. He’s fine for this year and next but he is not a long-term solution. Richard Sherman did a good write up in SI on the smartest quarterbacks and at the end he gave some votes for other categories ….. Alex Smith – most conservative.

    • sidibeke

      Two second round picks for a starting QB who leads your team to the playoffs in his first year. I’ll take that trade any time.

      • Deadmeat

        Ditto.

      • micah stephenson

        What about Superbowls? Do you care about winning one? Or is just having a guy that can get you to the playoffs good enough.

    • micah stephenson

      Hell yea. I would have offered a 3rd mayby 2nd at the very most for smith. But they needed a QB that cud win enough games for Andy to not to get fired after one yr and to win enough games to sell tickets. Now its time to get that guy that can win 3 playoff games and a superbowl.

      • KCMikeG

        Don’t forget – and win enough games to make the playoffs by week #15. We shall see about the playoff games. So when Smith wins today and again next week what say you then?

  • Jarad

    First off, the WRs have to get off the line quickly. Indys DBs seemed to be right in thier pockets the first time around. And second, does anyone think the Chiefs might be better off with Fisher out this game?? It just seemed like tge OL played its best while he was sidelined.

    • sidibeke

      Let’s just say I’m not worried he’s out. I’m not down on him yet, though. I want to see what an offseason in KC’s weight room will do for him. I think his being undersized has hurt him on the injury front, too.

  • Chris Tarrants

    If Alex Smith takes us deep into the playoffs will he get a long term contract? Or if we lose will people like Micah be calling for his head? Either way I can’t wait for tomorrow! I hate basketball but usually that’s all there is for me this time of year so come on chiefs keep winning and get me closer to the first NASCAR race so that I’m not forced to watch basketball

    • toperspective

      Yes and yes. I’m not exactly brimming with confidence regarding tomorrow’s game but I’m hoping Smith, Lewis and succop surprise me.

    • micah stephenson

      Becuase of Smiths Age, Contract, and Skills ima want a new QB regardless of tomorrows game. I don’t see Smith taking us deep n the playoffs by himself. If we do it, it will have to b the WHOLE TEAM to do it, not just Smith.

      • Jason Seibel

        And you think when teams win playoff games that it’s all QB and not the whole team?

        • micah stephenson

          Huuuummm! Its a team effort. I know for a fact that you smart enough to know that i know its the whole team. But having the better QB than the other teams has means a whole lot. The teams with the best or hottest QBs are usually the ones left standing at the end.

  • sidibeke

    I feel like a kid on Christmas eve. Let’s get that playoff monkey off of our backs.

    • toperspective

      Last night on ESPN they went through the litany of playoff failures going back to Steneruds missed field goal. And Grandland has an article by a chiefs fan sharing all of his heartbreak . Get a win or two and make it stop.

  • sidibeke

    I don’t think there will be calls for him to go with a loss. He’s done a good job this year and has improved. No reason to not expect more of that next year. I also think KC doesn’t draft a QB until 2015 again. Daniel looked a serviceable back up against a Charger team fighting for its playoff lives and Bray has potential. We need this next draft to focus on positions of higher concern: WR, CB, LB (like to see an OLB who can take over for Hali in a couple of years and step in in case of injury), DE. Could also add some O line depth since Albert is likely gone.

    • Deadmeat

      I would put FS at #2. Very disappointed in Lewis.

  • UsnCapt2003

    It is time for these haters to back off and enjoy the ride. Alex AND the rest of the team has had their growing pains. To have gone this far given a new everything is a testament to the teams commitment to each other.

    Alex may not be flashy but is calm and poised and that has a huge impact on every other player on the field.

    I have not seen this type of poised command since Joe Montana and before you haters try to throw me comparing their stats which I won’t I am pointing out the one thing they both share that does not show up on any stat sheet and that is again POISED COMMAND

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