Yesterday’s loss to the New York Jets was an ugly one, that is undeniable. However, there was at least one positive thing to take away. I present to you, the diamond in the rough that was Alex Smith’s performance.
I won’t pretend that the Kansas City Chiefs are currently a good team. Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets was absolutely atrocious. The Chiefs gave us hope on several occasions and then dashed that hope into pieces.
However, the show that starting quarterback Alex Smith gave us deserves some praise. His stats for the day concluded with a 57.6% completion percentage, 366 yards, and four touchdowns.
Let’s take a closer look at some key parts of his performance, starting with his pocket presence.
You might be saying right now “What pocket presence?” and to an extent, you have a point. But, for the greater portion of this game, Smith showed competent command of the pocket. This was especially apparent in the second half of the game as Smith threw two beautiful touchdown passes to Tyreek Hill. Where the argument arises is it seems that Smith will sometimes just immediately take off running almost the instant he gets the ball. This was due in large part to him not having much of a pocket to stand in.
Several plays began with the snap and then Smith had a split second to run or he would be crushed by the opposing defense. This shows us two things. It gives us a good look at the glaring weakness that is the pass blocking the offensive line executes. The other thing it shows us is Smith’s ability to read the pocket and the pressure to then make a decision based on that read.
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Smith showed off another great talent of his on Sunday: ball control. Smith has been lambasted his entire career for not taking enough deep shots, and for not being more risky with his play. These might be valid criticisms for some situations, but the flip side of this more conservative play style is fewer turnovers. How many games have been changed by the defense getting a clutch interception? How many championships have been ruined or solidified by a quarterback who made a mistake and got too aggressive? That number deserves its own article! A quarterback that doesn’t take too many risks and is careful with ball placement can win games for his team.
Against the Jets, Smith finished with his overall second best game so far this season, second only to the season opener against the New England Patriots. The numbers from that game break down at 80% completion percentage, 368 yards, and four touchdowns. The drop in completion percentage is rather high, however he still pulled out an incredible game against the Jets despite that.
Smith is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. He is human and makes mistakes. He also missed completely on several passes. It is possible these were due to honest mistakes on his part. The rapidly collapsing pocket also cannot be ruled out as a cause for some of these mishaps. In the rut the Chiefs have been in the past several weeks, Smith has shown us there is still hope for this team.
We have seen this year in and year out. We start off on a hot streak and then hit a slump and fight back out of it. This could be that turning point where we see our team claw their way back to the top. I am excited to see this fight for the AFC West. Buckle up Addicts, we are in for quite the ride.
Thanks for reading and Go Chiefs!