The 8-0 Kansas City Chiefs have made quite the comeback this season after a horrific 2-14 record from last year. In large part, they have quarterback Alex Smith to thank.
Though not a finesse quarterback like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Peyton Manning, the young Chief has handled himself with grace and poise as he’s come into his own with the rest of the offense, and, though unpredictable and often inconsistent, the fact remains that he and his team are doing something right thus far. Kansas City remains the only undefeated team in the NFL this season.
He’s handled himself well under pressure, and it would be unfair to assume that we have seen his best up to this point.
If you haven’t heard about all the hate talking regarding the Chiefs’ cake walk of a schedule this season, you haven’t been following too closely. Much of that criticism is directed at Smith particularly, making reference to how he and his team wouldn’t fare well against other more “formidable” teams. In recent games against the Houston Texans and the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City walked away victorious by slim margins. If that’s the best they could muster against less challenging teams, what is reasonable to expect as the playoffs loom?
And after their game with the Buffalo Bills Sunday, in which they are favored — if but slightly — to win, they enjoy a bye week. After that, their workout really begins: the Denver Broncos twice, the San Diego Chargers twice, and then at home against the Indianapolis Colts.
While the Chiefs’ defense is currently ranked No. 5 in the league, there are those that would say it has enjoyed a parade of remarkably mediocre offenses. Surely no one can say the same for the defensive lines that Smith has squared off against — the Texans’, Browns’ and Oakland Raiders‘ defenses all rank in the NFL’s top 10.
His athleticism is easily the most under-appreciated aspect of his playing. How soon we forget that the eighth-year passer sprinted for over 1,000 yards alongside 15 rushing touchdowns during his three-year stint at the University of Utah. He’s cool and calculating, too. Honestly, what Smith lacks in throwing ferocity, he more than compensates for in mental prowess.
Though he may not be considered an elite quarterback, ponder this: The last time he led a team to the playoffs, he upstaged quarterback Brees and the New Orleans Saints, twice retaking the lead in the fourth quarter.
If the Chiefs are truly sporting a ramshackle, sporadic offense led by Smith, a safe but un-glamorous passer many would say, and if their defense, while good, has been beating up on teams that don’t have really powerhouse offensive lines, well, we’ll find out soon enough what Kansas City is really made of this year.
Scoff all you want and say what you will about Smith and his quarterbacking style. He has undeniably added value to the Chiefs’ lineup. Regardless of what he’s doing this season, at the end of the day, he and his team are certainly winning games, and he could yet have quite a few surprises up his sleeve.