He got a huge, new contract extension this offseason. He also has a wife who went on a Twitter frenzy, insulting anyone who suggested her husband, former Utah Utes star Alex Smith, might be asking for too much money from his new employer, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Be that as it may, Smith went out with the team he led to a playoff berth last year in his first year there–or the Chiefs–and led them to their first win of the season this year, in three tries. So much for public sentiment, right?
Not so fast. The belief that Smith is nothing more than a game manager is still there, big as it ever was. Smith’s 186-yard, 19-completion, three-touchdown passing performance didn’t do much to quell all the rumors that the former Ute can’t throw 300-yard games like Peyton, Tony and all the rest.
Did anyone mention that Smith–who has suffered from post-concussion symptoms in the past–was sacked five times in the 34-15 win? “Momentum’s a funny thing,” Smith said after the game. “It’s hard to put your finger on it, but certainly this helps. This is what you’re looking for — a win on the road. A tough win, I thought. This is how you get started, for sure.”
But it’s not just momentum. Brett Gering, A Kansas City Chiefs-related blogger for Sports Illustrated’s Fansided, pointed out an interesting fact after Smith led–or managed, depending on your point of view–the Chiefs to victory this past week.
The former Ute, he argued, does better when his starters at running back are injured. This week, starting RB Jamaal Charles was on the shelf–which kicked Smith into an other-worldly gear, according to Gering. (Smith also ran for 74 yards on 10 carries, helping shoulder the load burdened by Charles’ injury.)
“For whatever reason, when his best asset hobbles off the field, Smith’s efficiency approaches cyborg levels,” Gering said.
Smith is not having the greatest of seasons in Kansas City–in fact, his paltry production is awfully close to ones he had in San Francisco–but it’s still early enough for him to make a bigger impact going forward. Week 3’s win was huge for the former Ute in a number of ways.
First, he got the Chiefs their first win of the year. Second, he had his best statistical game of the season.
Finally, his solid game against the Dolphins got some of the non-believers off his back about being worth the astronomical sum of money the Chiefs paid in the off-season.
As naysayers will point out though, Smith still has a ways to go to prove he’s worth what he was paid, or $45 million over four years. One week will not solve all of his problems.