Chiefs QB Alex Smith making Dorsey gamble pay off

The pocket was breaking down and Alex Smith was running out of
time, so he did what so few quarterbacks in Kansas City have ever
been able to do over the years.

Smith took off and picked up a first down with his feet.

He didn’t throw a ball into an impossibly tight space, or tempt
double coverage and get picked off. He didn’t stumble around as his
offensive line caved in around him, or get chased around by a
couple of New York Giants before finally succumbing to a sack.

Instead, Smith remained unflappable under pressure, exuding the
kind of poise that infects an entire offense. More than once he
scrambled for first downs last Sunday, giving the Chiefs the spark
they needed for a 31-7 victory and their first 4-0 start in a
decade.

”He seems to handle everything well, and kind of keeps a calm
among the chaos,” said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who has said
repeatedly he tried to trade for Smith when Reid was still with the
Eagles. ”He’s able to keep it all in perspective. He demands a lot
of the guys around him in his own way. That’s important. He does
that well.”

At some point in time, calling a quarterback a ”game manager”
became a derogatory description. Guys who throw safe passes, refuse
to test sticky-fingered defensive backs, and make sure their teams
are put in good positions became blase. By contrast, those willing
to fling the ball all over the field with an all-or-nothing
mentality grew in popularity.

Smith has always taken the cerebral approach, though. He prides
himself on not making mistakes – often to the chagrin of fans who’d
rather seem him throw it downfield.

”The most important thing in football is controlling the ball,
time of possession,” Chiefs tight end Kevin Brock said. ”Guys who
control the clock, don’t turn the ball over, they’re the successful
guys. If they want to say that’s what he does for us, I’ll take it
any day.”

Smith has thrown only 22 interceptions since the 2010 season,
the fewest of any quarterback with at least 1,000 pass attempts.
The Patriots’ Tom Brady is next with 26 interceptions.

His streak of 160 pass attempts without a pick ended when he
threw two last Sunday against the Giants. Even then, only one of
them was a badly thrown pass.

Indeed, Smith is a big reason the Chiefs are tied with the
Tennessee Titans, their opponent on Sunday, for the NFL’s best
turnover margin.

”For me, I’m just making my reads and throwing the ball where
it’s supposed to go,” Smith offered by way of explanation. ”Just
where the defense is telling me.”

Often, the defense has been telling him to run.

Smith has run the zone-read several times this season, but
mostly he’s been scrambling when the pressure threatens him. But
the result has been the same: He’s on pace to run for more than 600
yards, which would easily be a career high.

”I think it’s something that can help us at times, something I
take pride in,” he said. ”If they’re going to give me that, I
have to make plays with my legs, make them pay. When it is there,
take advantage of it, for sure.”

Smith is also on pace to throw for 3,828 yards and 28
touchdowns; both would be career highs. And in what must feel
especially gratifying, he’s thrown for more yards and TDs with
fewer interceptions than Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who took
his job in San Francisco.

More importantly, he has the Chiefs at 4-0. The 49ers are
2-2.

”He took us to the NFC championship when I was with the Niners.
People doubted him, but I always knew what type of quarterback he
was,” said Titans tight end Delanie Walker. ”He knows how to win
games. He’s doing a great job over there doing that.”

Not surprisingly, the first thing Walker referenced when was
asked for a scouting report on Smith was his ability to manage the
game.

”He doesn’t make dumb decisions. He’s not going to turn the
ball over,” Walker said. ”If the person that he’s looking for is
not open, he will check it down. He’s a smart quarterback, he’s not
going to do anything to jeopardize a win.”

NOTES: Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (foot blisters), CB Brandon
Flowers (knee inflammation), P Dustin Colquitt (knee sprain) and FS
Kendrick Lewis (ankle sprain) did not practice Wednesday. … The
Chiefs signed OG Chandler Burden to the practice squad and released
LB Darin Drakeford.

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