Alex Smith: Smart And Accurate Or Captain Checkdown?

6 of 9

Play #6 – Under Center – 2 WRs, 1 TE, JC split out, Sherman in the backfield

Situation – 1st and 10

Results – Screen pass to Sherman for 8 yards

This is a hard one to judge based on what we can see on the television coverage (I can’t wait for coaches tape).  In the screen shot above it appears that Smith could hit Baldwin who appears to be open in the middle of the field.  However, there are seven Saints defenders back in coverage that aren’t in view.  Could 2-3 of them be breaking right towards Baldwin?  I have no idea.  I watched it several times and I just can’t tell.  Smith may have been able to hit Baldwin with room for him to run or he may have been hit the moment he caught the ball.  Smith chose to dump it off to Sherman who had room to run in front of him.  It’s hard to argue with an 8 yard gain on first down, but Smith’s critics at least can make a case for Smith playing it safe here.