Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was being discussed as a potential MVP candidate earlier this season. That talk has been walked back significantly as he struggled after a point, but his high level of play kept the Chiefs in games for much of the season. He’ll try and lead them to a playoff win against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has played his best football in Kansas City, though for Smith, his best football isn’t always enough to win. He’s a careful quarterback who completed a high percentage of passes and doesn’t throw many interceptions, but he also doesn’t throw for many touchdowns and a ton of yardage.
This is something that 49ers fans know well. But it really can’t be overstated just how good Smith was earlier in the year, and how important he was to Kansas City’s success. They didn’t charge headfirst into the playoffs — they needed help to get in — and without the careful play from Smith, they wouldn’t be in.
Smith threw 16 touchdowns this season before he ever threw an interception. He didn’t dip below a 73 percent completion percentage until the sixth game of the season. Overall, he’s completed 67.5 percent of passes for 4,042 yards, 26 touchdowns and five interceptions on the season. He eclipsed 300 yards passing in five games this season.
Smith has posted a career high in yardage, touchdowns and a 15-game low for interceptions thrown as well as the second-highest completion percentage of his career.
The argument against Smith is that he doesn’t have ridiculous big-play ability or that he misses the big play in favor of the safer one. The Chiefs might feel like they need to move on from Smith next season or in the very near future, and that’s a fair thing to believe. They know what they get from Smith, and I believe they think they can win with Smith.
But they want more, and I get it. There’s talk that Smith could be starting his last few games here in the playoffs, and while that wouldn’t be shocking, it would be disappointing for me. Smith was always a delight to work with as a member of the media, and he’s such a great guy. His play on the field has improved and I think it’s worth recognizing.