Alex Smith did something no one else has done, and he did it after an offseason in which some weren’t sure he’d be there to do it.
But after fending off the competition from the latest shiny new thing (first-round pick Patrick Mahomes), Smith was both efficient (which he usually is) and dynamic (which he isn’t always) in the Chiefs’42-27 win over the Patriots.
“There’s so much emotion, so much buildup and anticipation, that sometimes you forget that it’s just one of 16 [games], right?” Smith said, via Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star. “I think you have to be able to handle defeat as well as victory the right way, and I think each can deter you.
“You’ve got to be able to handle it the right way. You’ve got to be able to be resilient.”
He’s had to be himself, after watching the Chiefs trade future picks for his eventual replacement, who had an excellent preseason of his own. But the job he did dissecting the Patriots was enough to quiet that talk for a bit.
The numbers he stacked up in this one game were impressive enough, but the context was greater. He was
Smith was 28-of-35 for 368 yards and four touchdowns.
That marked the first time a Belichick-era Patriots team had given up more than 300 yards and fourt touchdowns with no picks. It was also the first time in 82 games the Patriots lost at hime when leading at halftime. It was also the first time since 2006 they lost at home to an AFC team in the regular season with Tom Brady playing the whole game (51-0).
But the way he did it was also counter to the perception that he was just a manager, not a playmaker. And after the arrival of the big-armed and flashy Mahomes, that had to be gratifying. He threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill, and a 78-yarder to Kareem Hunt which made him the first Chiefs quarterback since Len Dawson in 1968 with two such home run passes in the same game.
So it was natural that he was asked if it gave him a chance to prove he was without question the guy.
“You know, if you’d asked me that seven or eight years ago, you’d probably get what you’re looking for there,” Smith said. “I really don’t care [about what people say]. . . .
“You’ve got to be able to … stay shortsighted and have a sense of urgency about your business.”
That may be boring. But Thursday night, it was both true and effective.