Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) on the sidelines during the second quarter of the 2013 AFC wild card playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Smith proves he's a guy you can win with, not a problem

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It seemed like everything was going against the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday, and they lost a few key players to injury during their 45-44 loss to the Indianapolis Colts that showcased incredible performances from Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton in the Colts 28-point comeback. But Chiefs fans know in their hearts that they likely would have won this game had Jamaal Charles and Brandon Flowers not gone down with injuries (Knile Davis, too), and Charles’s injury very early in the game was definitely a back-breaker for the Chiefs that swung the game later on for the Colts. I mean, it’s telling when Alex Smith was your most potent rushing threat, right? There’s a reason why Charles has been an OPOY or even MVP candidate for some, and that’s because he has been so important for the Chiefs.

Alex Smith tried his best to make us all forget about Charles’s importance, and it’s a shame that people spend so much time dragging Smith through the mud. He’s actually a pretty good quarterback, and it’s annoying to see how little credit he gets for the Chiefs major turn-around. Remember Matt Cassel? Remember him? You can call Smith a “noodle arm” or “game manager” as much as you want, and those kinds of folks are the same ones who aren’t willing to admit just how good Smith looked yesterday.

30-46, 378 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs. That’s the stat line Smith put up, and usually your team wins when your starting quarterback plays like that, and Smith was certainly excellent yesterday. Unfortunately, the only WR who was excellent was Dwayne Bowe (he stepped up big-time), and the defense was far from excellent. I mean, how on earth do you allow the only legitimate receiving threat on the other team get 224 yards? Where was the deep coverage? You had to know going into the game that Hilton is a monster who can make big plays, and the Chiefs still couldn’t stop him from mauling them for over 200 yards.

Anyway, it’s funny how little credit a few fans are giving to Smith, and it’s a crying shame; it’s been the same story all year long. I know most people give Smith his due, but it’s crazy how his performances in big games this year haven’t been praised as much as they should. I mean, he did everything he could to get the Chiefs past the Denver Broncos, and he didn’t deserve to be on the losing side of a close game yesterday with his near-flawless performance. Yes, he fumbled the ball, but that was really his only mistake. Smith was excellent in every sense of the word, and he had 57 yards on eight carries to help keep the Chiefs drives going at times.

I think the Chiefs biggest needs this offseason are to get a better free safety and to get a better wide receiver, with the latter being the most important. I mean, Alex Smith isn’t the problem at all when the Chiefs passing attack stalls; he’s solid and does what he can. The issue for the Chiefs offense is the fact that they only have one legitimate pass-catching threat in Dwayne Bowe, who is probably a No. 2 WR or at least needs a strong No. 2 WR opposite of him in order to be a No. 1 guy. The Chiefs desperately need to give Smith a better starting wideout than Donnie Avery, who is arguably the worst starting receiver in the game and is the epitome of unreliability. While he has speed to burn and can make the occasional big play (he had a 79-yard TD catch yesterday), the fact that his big TD was his only reception at all yesterday just shows you how bad he is as a starting option. Smith doesn’t have much to work with in the passing game, and that’s what makes his big games like yesterday’s even more impressive. So don’t even think of blaming Smith at all for yesterday’s 45-44 loss, unless if you want to look like a fool (and yes, there are people doing this on Twitter, with some experts voicing agreement).

And the argument that you can’t win with Smith? Bull, look at how good the 2011 San Francisco 49ers were and look at how good this year’s Chiefs were despite having well below-average receivers. Charles is a great pass-catcher out of the backfield, but that’s not enough. I’m not saying Smith is the greatest quarterback and he’s actually exactly what I think of when I say “average quarterback”, but you can win with him. And, more importantly, he’s made the most out of below-average targets. Don’t believe me? Look at the receivers that the other playoff teams have, because it’s clear that the Chiefs had the worst receivers of any playoff team.

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Tags: Alex Smith Kansas City Chiefs Notes And Analysis

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