Alex Smith should not be your scapegoat

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Kansas City Chiefs vs Pittsburgh Steelers

This was the first bad game by Alex Smith in my opinion. What really got to me was the fact that it felt like the Chiefs had learned nothing from the two previous games against the Pittsburgh Steelers just last year. The coaches and players both seemed unprepared for this game.

The Steelers did a really good job at hiding their coverages pre-snap knowing that Smith is reliant on finding the coverages pre-snap and from there deciding his first and second reads. There were numerous plays that the defense was able to surprise Smith with a blitz that he didn’t see coming.

It seemed like the Chiefs threw out the 2017 playbook and replaced it with the 2016 one as well in this game. The Steelers defense knew exactly what Smith was going to do before he even threw the ball and were able to shut down many plays. Every time the Chiefs tried to run a bubble screen, the Steelers defense tackled them for a loss knowing it was coming.

The Chiefs were way too predictable in this game and like I said some of that is on the coaching of head coach Andy Reid. When the plays obviously weren’t working against the Steelers zone defense, Reid failed to make adjustments to help Smith attack it better. Reid also gave up on the run like he did in the playoffs giving his rookie star running back Kareem Hunt only 9 carries the whole game.

The offensive line gave Smith just about no time with starters being out with injuries. Smith was under a lot of pressure all day. While Smith had played games and done better against really good defenses before this one, the masking of blitz packages by the Steelers and perfect execution by the defense made it near impossible for Smith to have a good game.

The one bright side to this ugly loss was that Smith looked strong and resilient to go down without a fight in the fourth quarter. He came out making throws he hadn’t been able to make all game and attack the deeper zones trying to get back into the game late.

This play got the Chiefs back into the game late in the fourth quarter. Smith was able to scramble to the left and while in motion throw deep to wide receiver DeAnthony Thomas who makes a great play by coming back for it and getting the touchdown. While it was inaccurate, it was still an amazing play by both of them.

The next offensive drive for the Chiefs Smith was just as aggressive. This is a throw that people normally would say he is unwilling to throw. Watch where tight end Travis Kelce is on his route when Smith threw the ball. Smith hit the tight window perfectly in the zone defense of the Steelers getting them in range late.

Something you also have to take into some consideration was that it was Smith’s first game without both receivers Chris Conley and Albert Wilson at the same time. This allowed the defense to put even more focus on Kelce and receiver Tyreek Hill. Second-year receiver Demarcus Robinson had his first real game with the offense and while he did get open and off his man pretty well, Smith and Robinson weren’t able to connect much.