Flanny: When the Chiefs needed him most, Alex Smith delivered
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Five things we learned from the Chiefs-Eagles game Thursday night.
ALEX COMES UP BIG
One of my favorite football expressions is the “championship drive.” That is what football coaches call a drive that a team has to make with the game on the line.
It means that everyone on offense must be assignment sure, and the quarterback must be flawless in moving the ball to either score or at least take time off the clock.
The Chiefs’ “championship drive” moment came in the fourth quarter with just over 11 minutes left while possessing a 23-16 lead. The Chiefs were backed up at their own 5.
On third and 10, quarterback Alex Smith — and no way can I see Matt Cassel doing this — stepped up and drilled a dart to Donnie Avery for 15 yards and a first down. That, my friends, was a championship throw.
If Smith doesn’t make that throw, the Eagles get the ball back with all the momentum and a chance to tie.
Instead, Smith continued the march as the Chiefs drove the ball all the way to the Eagles 20, setting up a clinching field goal that put them up by 10.
Yes, the Chiefs squandered numerous chances in the first half to blow the Eagles out. But when it mattered, Smith drove the team with a championship drive.
END OF VICK ERA?
Wow, except for some nifty runs, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick looked positively horrible Thursday night. He too often misfired on open receivers and also seemed unaware at times of the pass rush.
Vick finished just 13 of 30 for 201 yards, and the guess here is that Eagles coach Chip Kelly can’t wait to find a better quarterback to run his famed offense.
ANDY AIN’T ROMEO
Did you happen to notice Andy Reid get in Jamaal Charles’ grill in the first quarter?
Charles had just come up short on a third-and-1, and evidently Reid wasn’t exactly thrilled with Charles’ effort. Television cameras showed Reid barking at Charles as Charles got to the sideline.
That tells us Reid isn’t interested in becoming best friends with his players, unlike Romeo Crennel, who probably went out of his way too many times to protect and coddle his guys.
I would say Charles responded: He finished with 92 yards rushing and 80 yards receiving.
It was a rough first half for Chiefs No. 1 pick Eric Fisher at right tackle. Fisher got whipped on the Chiefs’ first offensive play and allowed a huge hit on quarterback Alex Smith.
Fisher later got beat twice more on swim moves, and Smith was forced to run from pressure. Reid finally shifted his tight ends to the strong side to give Fisher help.
Fisher also was called for a holding penalty in the third quarter.
WELCOME TO THE BIG LEAGUES
Hey, we’re all for innovation, and we love the fact that Kelly is trying to bring his high-octane, fast-break offense to the NFL. But some things just look stupid, such as Kelly’s attempt to go for two points after the Eagles’ first touchdown.
Kelly tried the ol’ swinging gate, where the offense lines up six players past the left hash mark, the center snaps it to the holder, and the holder flips it to a runner behind the six-pack of players lined to the left. That often works against inattentive college players, but the Chiefs weren’t fooled in the least and the play failed.
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email at firstname.lastname@example.org