Will the real Alex Smith please stand up?

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Nov 29, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) is tackled by Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) and free safety Corey Graham (20) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won the game 30-22. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Temper your Expectations

Smith had a brilliant day against the Bills. Most fans and a lot of writers have been quick to call the offense fixed. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

As much as I am satisfied that Smith is playing up to his capability, there is a nagging instinct for caution in thinking this offense is going to roll out repeats of its performance against the Bills. One thing stood out above the others. This performance was a scheme/matchup-based opportunity.

The single-high safety with man coverage the Bills ran was susceptible to the deep ball. The scheme gave the outside receivers just one guy to beat, leaving the matchups the determining factor. A rookie covered Maclin much of the day and Smith knew how to take advantage of that fact. That’s good quarterbacking, but its not changing who/what the quarterback is.

Smith has made attempts at this kind of play before too. In Week 10, Smith started the second half with a deep ball attempt to Maclin. The ball travel 32 yards in the air. Smith threw pass because he got a coverage look he liked. However, that play in Denver ended in an incomplete pass that missed by a good margin. There are factors that make these deep passes tough to complete and the Broncos had two of the biggest.

The difference was in the personnel. The Broncos had better cover players and pass rush. Clearly, the Denver pass rush is one of the best in the game. In addition, Denver’s cornerbacks are very good even without Aqib Talib on the field. In the end, even when Smith got the single-high shell he wanted and had Maclin singled up on the cornerback, the long plays didn’t get made.

It’s a tough play to make against the top secondaries in the league, to be sure. Can it be done against the four remaining defenses the Chiefs will face in the regular season? Its possible, but its likely to ebb and flow as Smith works the coverage and chooses his spots.

Next: Coming to conclusions