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Alex Smith never practiced deep route with Cyrus Gray

alexsmith AP

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith had one of the finest playoff performances you’ll ever see from a quarterback on Saturday. Smith, who threw for 378 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions and added 57 yards rushing, did exactly what every NFL team hopes its quarterback will do, turning in a brilliant game on a big stage.

But the Chiefs lost, 45-44, which meant that afterward, everyone wanted to talk about one throw that went wrong.

Smith overthrew an open running back Cyrus Gray on a deep ball that would have been a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter, one of the key plays that the Chiefs wish they could have back. After the game, Smith said that play was one he and starting running back Jamaal Charles had perfected in practice. Unfortunately, Charles was out of the game with a concussion, and Smith said that when Gray came in to run the play, he was running that route with Smith for the very first time.

“The tough part is all week with so many reps and obviously with Jamaal getting all of those, it’s just something we have never repped with Cyrus, but still got to hit it though. You don’t get many opportunities like that,” Smith said.

Looking at the play, and considering that Charles is faster than Gray, Smith probably threw it exactly where it needed to be if Charles had been the one running the route: Smith’s pass traveled about 30 yards downfield, and Gray was a step or two behind where the ball landed. Charles is probably a step or two faster than Gray on a 30-yard route. If Charles doesn’t get hurt, that play is probably a Chiefs touchdown. Instead, the drive turned into a Chiefs punt.

It would be an overstatement to pin a wild back-and-forth battle like Saturday’s Chiefs-Colts game on one play. But that one play may have been the difference between Smith leading his team to a fantastic playoff win, and Smith spending the rest of the playoffs wondering, What if.

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52 Responses to “Alex Smith never practiced deep route with Cyrus Gray”
  1. doe22us says: Jan 5, 2014 8:43 AM

    Of course with Charles in would have made a world of difference, but fortunatley/unfortunately you play with the horses that you have.

  2. hoosiercolts says: Jan 5, 2014 8:49 AM

    People need to back off Alex Smith. He, and this one throw, didn’t lose that game for KC. The Colts D stepped up after making halftime adjustments and Luck and the offense finally got their heads out of their butts. What an amazing game for Colts fans like me, but Alex Smith did everything he could to win that game.

  3. wishingtonredslur says: Jan 5, 2014 8:49 AM

    Defense where did you go?

  4. kingpel says: Jan 5, 2014 8:50 AM

    If RG3 turned in the same exact performance as Alex Smith, ESPN would hail it as an all-time great playoff performance and talk about it for the entire off season. I think it is time to start giving this guy his due.

  5. sidepull says: Jan 5, 2014 8:51 AM

    Wide open. That play was wide open. A game changer that was not to be.

  6. The League's Crusade Against The Steelers Continues says: Jan 5, 2014 8:52 AM

    LOL @ the Chiefs. Epic meltdown!

  7. Chip Caray's Eyebrows says: Jan 5, 2014 8:54 AM

    KC gave up 45 points, so obviously we should talk about the one throw Alex Smith didn’t make.

  8. ottawabrave91 says: Jan 5, 2014 8:55 AM

    can’t even explain how it feels to be a chiefs fan today

  9. couchbasher says: Jan 5, 2014 8:57 AM

    This was Gray’s fault… he ran a bad route. If you watch the play, he was looking back at Smith the entire time and running half speed until the ball came in.

  10. afcdomination says: Jan 5, 2014 8:57 AM

    gray flubbed the route. Smith had a career game. 378 4 td’s 57 rushing. put the team on his back without Charles.

    the blame is on the defense for allowing 45 points. to even suggest its on this one play, what a joke.

  11. titansbro says: Jan 5, 2014 8:59 AM

    I don’t know, how about this awesome defense not allow 45 pts? If your offense scores 44 & you still lose then it’s 100% on the defense. Alex Smith was awesome yesterday.

  12. bigbluenationdb says: Jan 5, 2014 9:00 AM

    I have always had my doubts about Smith but he proved last night he can play on the biggest stage and is more then a game manager.

    On another note Andy Reid proved he still can not manage a game. He coached the second half like he was down 28. I bet KC called less then 10 run plays in the second half.

  13. dayus49 says: Jan 5, 2014 9:01 AM

    Alex has nothing to be ashamed about. He played an amazing game. It was the D that dropped the ball (no pun intended). As a 49er fan I couldn’t help but root for KC because I wanted to see Alex do well.

  14. gsomatt says: Jan 5, 2014 9:20 AM

    Dude lead his team to 44 points and lost. How about blaming the D?

  15. notwithkubiak says: Jan 5, 2014 9:21 AM

    Maybe next time the Chiefs will play their starters for a game that doesn’t count.. in the NFL it’s all about momentum…

  16. sarcasticsportsfan says: Jan 5, 2014 9:28 AM

    Last I checked, Smith didn’t play defense. Also, is it Smith’s job to make sure Gray gets the first team reps? Didn’t think so.

    KC defense sucked the second half of the season and if not for Luck throwing the picks in the first half, KC wouldn’t have looked near as good as they were made to look.

    Now, if Jay Cutler were the KC QB, he would have made many amazing plays for the Colts D and THEN you could blame him.

  17. deathonwings410 says: Jan 5, 2014 9:45 AM

    Alex Smith is no longer a game manager, he’s a playmaker.

  18. mickmars says: Jan 5, 2014 9:47 AM

    Andy Reid needs to practice clock management.And realize you don’t get 13 timeouts per half.

  19. seatownballers says: Jan 5, 2014 9:50 AM

    Why cover ty Hilton when we can blame Smith?

  20. apkyletexas says: Jan 5, 2014 9:58 AM

    I would say the Chiefs’ complete lack of anything resembling an NFL defense might have had something to do with the loss.

    But, that’s just me.

  21. baltimorons says: Jan 5, 2014 10:10 AM

    Andy Reid is the Tony Romo of coaching.

  22. scratchmommy says: Jan 5, 2014 10:25 AM

    Reid didn’t call the timeouts. Not blaming Smith, but 2 were used to avoid delay of game penalties…

  23. skooter519 says: Jan 5, 2014 10:27 AM

    Alex Smith is one of the better quarterbacks in the game today, just doesn’t get as much attention as some of the others.

  24. drone501 says: Jan 5, 2014 10:31 AM

    49 ers got rid of the wrong qb. thought that even before last nights game.

  25. morr24 says: Jan 5, 2014 10:31 AM

    The media long ago labelled Smith as a game manager. I think this has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. As such, Smith gets blame for losses and is not given credit for wins. Such is his fate.

  26. msclemons67 says: Jan 5, 2014 10:36 AM

    This game and that play encapsulated Alex Smith’s career. Decent, but not quite good enough.

  27. pftfan says: Jan 5, 2014 10:54 AM

    Pro Bowl selection already off to a great start.

    That’s FIVE players from a defense that gave up 45 points in a Wild Card Game.

  28. saneman66 says: Jan 5, 2014 11:36 AM

    Alex Smith is not to blame for the loss, obviously. But just pointing out that the only TD they scored in the second half was thanks to the much maligned, deservedly so, KC Defense.

  29. Great Caesar's Ghost says: Jan 5, 2014 11:45 AM

    Man this team’s last playoff win was in the Astrodome. Great googly moogly.

  30. 21stnprime says: Jan 5, 2014 12:00 PM

    KC missed J Charles when they got stopped at the one yard line two plays in a row.

  31. smcgaels1997 says: Jan 5, 2014 12:07 PM

    Alex Smith didn’t lose that game . Giving up 45 points lost that game

  32. packerbackernj says: Jan 5, 2014 12:41 PM

    I highly doubt all teams hope their offense disappears right after the first drive of the second half giving the other team 7 drives…he did good for half a game.

  33. 8oneanddones says: Jan 5, 2014 1:04 PM

    Believe it or not, this was not the first time an NFL player left a game due to an injury.

  34. JSpicoli says: Jan 5, 2014 1:07 PM

    Alex Smith had a great game. Everyone needs to recognize that. Including the announcers that were laying it on thick with the game manager talk until it was really obvious that that was not true

  35. kaepernickisthekingofqbs says: Jan 5, 2014 1:17 PM

    OMG guys, Alex in his 9th year threw a 45 yard pass that went for an additional 35 yards after the catch…..He’s a playmaker now.

    LOL.

    King Kaepernick in just 26 starts has eclipsed the 9 year veteran, even on a down year like this year.

    Keep trying to comfort yourselves Chiefs fans. Still 20 years without a playoff win.

    #KingOfQBsKapernickWillWinTheSuperbowl!

  36. skolvikesskol says: Jan 5, 2014 1:50 PM

    Smith said exactly what a qb should say. Take all the blame for a loss, give all the credit for a win.

    However…

    Since i have 20/20 vision and was awake for the game and have watched football for 40 years…

    That miss was entirely on Gray.

  37. riverhorsey says: Jan 5, 2014 1:54 PM

    Smith has proved he can play with the best and KC has a lot to look forward to with him coming back.

  38. vailskier99 says: Jan 5, 2014 2:00 PM

    Alex Smith did a good job. His overated D let him down. The Colts D and O made adjustments after half time. The Chiefs D did not. Chief D coaches need to be FIRED.

  39. jjackwagon says: Jan 5, 2014 2:38 PM

    This loss is on the D but I challenge any team to lose four starters and plus their back up running back and still win any game much less a playoff game. From 2-14 to 11-5 is still a great turn around. Chiefs arrow is still pointing up and there are at least 10 other AFC teams that wanted to be where the Chiefs were yesterday.

  40. thisdamnbox says: Jan 5, 2014 2:52 PM

    From where I was sitting, Luck cut apart KC’s secondary after Brandon Flowers went down. He stays healthy in that game, I really see a different outcome. Alex did his job…

  41. mattb77 says: Jan 5, 2014 3:01 PM

    Pardon me while I restate what many others have said so well: The Obvious.

    Smith was brilliant in leading a 44-point effort without Charles in Indianapolis.

    Forty-four points put up on the board . . . and the Chiefs lost!?

    Kansas City’s so-called defense earned and owns–completely–this miserable, historic defeat.

  42. rubenxx7 says: Jan 5, 2014 3:35 PM

    thats the biggest bs excuse ive ever heard. smith has to make that throw and he didnt!

  43. winninaintsinnin says: Jan 5, 2014 3:36 PM

    I thought KC had one of the best defenses in the NFL???

  44. greenopoly2013 says: Jan 5, 2014 5:17 PM

    “The tough part is all week with so many reps and obviously with Jamaal getting all of those, it’s just something we have never repped with Cyrus, but still got to hit it though. You don’t get many opportunities like that,” Smith said.

    YEP! as a pro should it matter who is running the route if you have the same playbook?

  45. greenopoly2013 says: Jan 5, 2014 5:21 PM

    Smith has proved he can play with the best and KC has a lot to look forward to with him coming back.

    as a Bronco fan I couldn’t agree more. I look forward to these matchups in the next few years. good competition I love it!

  46. chiefwood says: Jan 5, 2014 5:29 PM

    Players in the NFL can’t be that bad, too many Colt receivers were wide open, Monday morning defensive coordinator should be fired.

  47. fshtank says: Jan 5, 2014 9:05 PM

    They score 44 points and don’t come out with a win.
    Doesn’t sound like there is a problem with the offense.

  48. despenc925 says: Jan 6, 2014 1:59 AM

    i bet alex was like, “i miss you san francisco defense”!

  49. shyts7 says: Jan 6, 2014 9:24 AM

    Alex Smith showed that he can is more than a game manager. He was nothing short of great. The problem was the defense, specifically the DB’s. Hilton was abusing them left and right. Robinson had no business “covering” Hilton after the first quarter. They should of had Flowers on Hilton wherever he went. But the secondary has been a problem all year. The problems were just covered up by all the turnovers. Robinson and Shaun Smith have been a failure. I wished the Chiefs had gone after Brent Grimes last year instead of Smith. Berry and Flowers are the only 2 top quality players in the secondary. Lewis is marginal at best. Marcus Cooper has a bright future but he is very young and very raw. KC’s offseason should be devoted to acquiring WR’s, DB’s, and a little work on the D-Line.

  50. shyts7 says: Jan 6, 2014 9:25 AM

    Alex Smith showed he can “be” more than a game manager.

  51. tdubdizzle says: Jan 6, 2014 7:53 PM

    Alex Smith had a chance to win the Chiefs the game and he didnt. His play speaks for itself. You forgot to mention his crucial fumble on his teams own 35. That changed the momentum of the game. He played well but he didn’t he make the plays when he needed to.

  52. tdubdizzle says: Jan 6, 2014 7:56 PM

    Somehow Alex Smith misses his mark and it’s not his fault…He is the only one throwing the ball! He missed the wide open receiver running down the sideline for a touchdown. A 17 point lead is a lot better than a ten point lead and the ball back to your opponent.

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