Why Alex Smith is still in the hunt for NFL MVP

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 01: Quarterback Alex Smith
SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 01: Quarterback Alex Smith /

The Chiefs lost their first game of the season Sunday afternoon. With many people blaming Alex Smith, has his MVP candidacy taken a hit?

Sunday afternoon was ugly, I won’t try to sugarcoat it. In fact, I don’t think there is any other way to describe a game in which your offense musters only six total yards in the first half. That kind of play is unacceptable, especially on your home field. My biggest question from the game is this: How much blame should be placed on Alex Smith?

Smith was atrocious in the first half, his stat line was as follows: 5/8, 4 Yards, sacked twice

Whew. That is ugly. MVP candidates don’t put up those stat lines, they just don’t. Smith would finish with a pretty decent day statistically though: 19/34, 246 Yards, 1 TD, 0 Int

Which moves his passing totals on the season to this: 140/192, 72.9 Comp%, 1,637 Yds, 12 TD, 0 Int. That is good for a 119.2 passer rating.

Lets now compare these numbers with two other quarterbacks who are in the MVP hunt.

Tom Brady: 153/233, 65.7 Comp %, 1,959 Yds, 13 TD, 2 Int. 106.9 passer rating

Carson Wentz: 126/207, 60.9 Comp %, 1,584 Yds, 13 TD, 3 Int. 110.7 passer rating

(It’s worth noting that Aaron Rodgers was a leading candidate before his season-ending injury)

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There are a few things that jump out when looking at these numbers. First, both Brady and Wentz have a significantly lower completion percentage than Smith. Smith’s accuracy has been a huge reason why the Chiefs have been able to sustain drives and were the NFL’s highest scoring offense through five weeks.

Second, both Brady and Wentz have one more touchdown pass than Smith, but have a combined five interceptions to Smith’s zero. The fact that Smith has opened up the passing game, as well as maintained his ability to avoid mistakes is very impressive.

One more thing these quarterbacks have in common is that they were both out-dueled by Alex Smith, and those games weren’t really that close.

Yes, Smith hit a bump in the road, but every eventual MVP does. I’m sure we all remember Matt Ryan’s two interception game vs the Chiefs at home last year. Then there’s Cam Newton’s 142 yard performance in which he lost a game ending fumble during his 2015 MVP campaign. No player in league history has ever played 16 perfect games.

While Smith does bear some blame for the Chiefs loss yesterday, he was one of the biggest reasons they were in it til the end.

This was an MVP play by Smith. With just over six minutes left, the Chiefs needed a score quickly. Smith, under pressure, throws a dime on the run to De’Anthony Thomas. Had Antonio Brown not scored on a horrible bounce off Phillip Gaines’s helmet, the Chiefs would likely be 6-0, and this pass to Thomas would be all the rage among NFL media.

Alex Smith is the quarterback of the best team in the NFL. While he is coming off a subpar performance, his quarterback play has easily been above the rest this season. It is only one game. Smith is still your MVP through six weeks, and the Kansas City Chiefs are still the best team in the NFL.