For the vast majority of his career, Alex Smith has been viewed largely as a game manager. That perception did not go away when the Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes tenth overall in this year’s NFL Draft. In fact, it only intensified that perception.
Well, fans and analysts may want to reconsider that.
Smith has been fabulous this season. He’s completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 2,181 yards and 16 touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception.
What changed for the 33-year-old this year?
“I think it’s the cast of wide receivers around him,” Chiefs radio analyst Kendall Gammon said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I think it’s the best he’s had, even with the loss of Jeremy Maclin. He’s been down the field a little bit more. I lend no credence to him feeling any pressure from Patrick Mahomes. Maybe in training camp he saw Patrick throw down the field a lot because he likes to do that. Maybe he started doing it some also. I don’t know. But Alex Smith is definitely playing with a swagger, with a confidence.”
That confidence was on display Monday night against Denver. Smith’s stats weren’t eye-popping – he finished 14-of-31 for 202 yards – but he had a beautiful 29-yard touchdown strike to Travis Kelce and also rushed four times for 33 yards.
“He made a throw tonight that was just fabulous,” Gammon said. “He just threaded the needle because Aqib Talib had the man guarded as well as he could. Alex is just feeling it right now. The nice thing also was as he was flushed from the pocket tonight – and he did it a fair amount – he kept his eyes up, he extended the play and got the ball out there to the receivers. A few of those balls were dropped, but he’s definitely playing at a high level, there’s no doubt.”
Kansas City (6-2), currently the No. 2 seed in the AFC, plays three of its next four games on the road, beginning with a trip to Dallas (4-3) this Sunday. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.