Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
The Kansas City Chiefs won the first game of the Andy Reid era in spectacular fashion, beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 28-2.
When you talk about the importance of starting off strong with a new coach, this is the type of game that you envision.
Kansas City could not have started any better, and while much credit has to be given to the defense, new quarterback Alex Smith was also impressive in his first official game with the Chiefs.
Smith started off hot, throwing two touchdowns in the first quarter, one to Donnie Avery and the other to Junior Hemingway. He finished the game completing 21-of-34 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns.
In honor of Smith’s first win with the Chiefs, here’s a film breakdown of his two touchdown passes. Film courtesy of NFL Rewind. Film markings are my own.
Smith’s first touchdown happened with 9:09 to go in the first quarter. With the ball at the five yard line, the Chiefs came out in a bunch formation. Smith is looking at deuces on his right and left, with Charles offset to his right. The obvious intention here is to get Jacksonville thinking about something between the hash marks, and then attacking the edges. Tight end Sean McGrath, who’s lined up on the outside, runs a 10 yard out, which occupies both the safety and corner. That allows Avery to run the quick out underneath, wide open:
You can see that by the time the defenders realize that Avery is running a quick out, it’s already too late:
From there, Avery breaks the tackle and waltzes in for the touchdown:
Credit Smith for releasing the ball quickly, but this was a great play-call and Avery really made the touchdown.
For those Smith doubters, his second touchdown was a thing of beauty. Once again, Kansas City has the ball near the end zone, this time at right about the three. While a run here would be a great call, notice how Reid puts the ball in his quarterback’s hands and asks him to make a play.
Jamaal Charles motions out to the right to become a wing-back, which essentially leaves Smith with an empty set. He’s got three to the left and two to the right. Charles will leak to the right and Anthony Fasano is going to curl and sit. On the other side, Hemingway is going to run a skinny post, Dwayne Bowe is going to slant underneath it and Avery is going to fake the outside release and then slant inside on the edge:
Bowe’s route does a nice job of pulling down the linebacker and opening a window for Hemingway in front of the safety. What really makes this play though is Smith’s eyes. Notice how he’s staring down Fasano’s route:
His head quickly snaps back to the skinny post though and Smith finds the window:
From here it comes down to making the throw, and Smith makes a picture-perfect pass. It’s a laser to Hemingway, but notice that he puts it high enough for the receiver to go up and make a play on it over the safety:
Smith’s first touchdown may have been a product of scheme and a good play from Avery, but his second came as a direct result of phenomenal quarterback play.
Frankly, there’s a lot to look forward to in regard to the Alex Smith era of Kansas City football.
This was just game one.