Chiefs' Alex Smith has another tough game but still gets the win
Kansas City, Mo. • Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was as frustrated as anyone in Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.
Completing fewer than 50 percent of his passes is not acceptable. Failing to throw a touchdown pass for the second straight week is unsatisfactory.
But Smith knows the statistic by which all quarterbacks are measured:
The Chiefs are 6-0 after Sunday's 24-7 victory over the Oakland Raiders, and Smith, acquired from the San Francisco 49ers in the offseason, is 26-5-1 since 2011 for an 82.8 winning percentage.
Only Peyton Manning (19-3, 86.4 percent), who missed the 2011 season, has a better mark among quarterbacks with at least 10 starts in the last three seasons.
"It's been kind of a little bit ugly the last two weeks, that's for sure," said Smith, who completed just 14 of 31 passes for a season-low 128 yards against the Raiders and a season-worst passer rating of just 56.9.
"We have to get better and we will. We have to, and the great thing is we got the win. We're 6-0 and the way we played on offense can certainly get a lot better. Frustrating a little bit, but encouraging at the same time. This is the first year, and some of these things we're going through for the first time. We have to continue to take steps."
One explanation for Smith's lack of production was that the Chiefs were constantly facing third-and-forever.
The Chiefs faced third and 8-or-more six times in the first half and converted just twice. Smith was sacked three times in the game, and in one possession in the second quarter, after a first-down pass went through tight end Sean McGrath's hands, Smith had to throw consecutive passes out of bounds when he either didn't have the time or an open receiver.
"It's so easy to get caught up in the stats and the QB rating and all that stuff . . . for me, throwing it away is still the smart play," Smith said. "We struggled getting into a rhythm, just continued to put ourselves in a hole on first and second down. We have to be better on first and second downs, and then you get into better third downs.
"They did a great job mixing it up. I felt like we never could get a read on it, on what they were doing defensively. They caught us off guard a few times. They caught me off guard."
It's a lot easier to throw the ball away and punt when the defense is playing as well as it has this season.
"If you're losing, you need to start forcing the ball sometimes," Smith said. "You saw that with (the Raiders), losing and the pressure coming and the passes went up and our defense made plays. That changed the game. A little bit of it is the battle of patience as the quarterback.
"As frustrating as it can be . . . yeah, I want to go out there and be perfect and throw for a bunch of yards and touchdowns, but that's not always what it's going to be."
Chiefs coach Andy Reid isn't alarmed by Smith's lack of productivity.
"He's taking care of the football," Reid said of Smith, who did not throw an interception Sunday. "When it counts, he makes the play. We're winning football games, and he's doing a nice job managing it."
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