Thursday, September 19, 2013

The 49ers Needed Alex Smith In Seattle


Anyone who has read my posts here, or comments in the past should know that I call it like I see it.  And what I saw tonight on Thursday night football in Philadelphia is exactly what the 49ers needed last Sunday night in Seattle.  They needed Alex Smith.

In his first three games in Kansas City the Chiefs have won all three, making him the first Chiefs quarterback to win their first 3 games as the starter since Joe Montana.  This is a team that could win only 2 games all last season.

And the best part of it all is that Smith is doing it in the same style he did it here in San Francisco the last year and a half before he was hurt.  He is still boring.  He is still leaning on his defense.  He is still leaning on his special teams.  And most importantly he is still protecting the football.  Through the first 2 games the Chiefs have turned the ball over 0 times, something that no NFL team has done since the 1998 New England Patriots.

And guess who was the quarterback for the 49ers the last time they won a game in Seattle, that's right, Alex Smith.  In fact, that is the last time the Seahawks have been defeated at home.

With the extreme noise created by the Seahawks fans and that stadium opposing offenses struggle and often have to trudge their way through the game.  Opposing offenses have to protect the ball and survive if they are to have a chance, and this is something that Smith thrives at doing.  And he did it almost flawlessly on that Christmas Eve day in 2011.

Take the Chiefs game against Philadelphia as a perfect example.  Throughout the game NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock continually talked about how Smith would not take chances by throwing into coverage.  I don't think he meant that it a demeaning way either, but instead understanding that this was part of managing the game, which Smith does as good as any quarterback in the league.

While the Alex and the Chiefs were boring, Mike Vick and the Eagles were very exciting, ripping off big plays aplenty, but also turning the ball over 5 times including 3 fumbles and 2 interceptions.

When the Chiefs needed Smith and the offense to step up they did.  For as dull, boring, predictable, and dependent on the defense as Smith's game was tonight, it was Smith and the Chiefs offense who put the game away, controlling the ball for 15:17 of the final 17:42 of the game.

First it was an 8 play 62 yard drive that took 4:45 off the clock.  On that drive the conservative Smith converted a 2nd and 14 into a 1st down with a completion to Donnie Avery.  Then following a penalty which put the Chiefs in a 1st and 20 situation, they worked it to a manageable 3rd and 4 which he converted.  The drive finally culminating in a Charles touchdown run to go up 23-9.

Next following a quick Eagles score to pull within 7 with 11:36 left in the 4th quarter, the Chiefs found themselves backed up at their own 5 to start the next drive.  Smith came up big on this possession.  Facing 3rd and 10 from his own 5, Smith won the money down with a strike to Donnie Avery.  Then facing 2nd and 8, Smith connected for a first down to keep the drive going, and finally on 3rd and 1 he hit Dwayne Bowe for another first down.  The 75 yard drive finally ended with a field goal to put Kansas City up 26-16.  The Eagles finally touched the ball again with only 3:21 remaining.

Yes Smith is still boring, dependent on his defense and special teams, still being overly cautious with the ball, and still winning.  The 49ers still needed Alex Smith in Seattle.

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