Did it seem like Alex Smith threw more deep balls against the Buffalo Bills than he usually does? That's because he did.
Pro Football Focus had Alex Smith throwing deep (20-plus yards in the air) on 8 percent of his passing attempts. Against Buffalo, Smith went deep five times which was 16 percent of his throws.
He completed four of those passes with three of them going to Jeremy Maclin. The key with Maclin is that Buffalo was often giving him single coverage with just one safety over the top. If Smith can manipulate the safety or if Andy Reid can call the right play to draw him away, it becomes single coverage. And single coverage on Maclin? Easy decision for Alex.
"That was a matchup we talked about all week," Alex said, via quotes from the Chiefs. "I felt good about the opportunity, and I felt good with the matchup between him and any of those guys, to be honest. They are good on the back end, but it just felt like Jeremy is a type of player that is going to win those battles, especially with the ball in the air."
Maclin added a great saying when talking about those deep balls.
"Yeah, you know, there's a saying: ‘If I'm even, I'm leaving,'" Maclin told reporters after the game. "We were able to put the ball up, and Alex (Smith) gave us chances to go out there and make plays and we came out big for him. I think, in a big game like this and the elements the way that they kind of were, those plays are big. Credit to Alex and credit to Big Red calling the plays."
I saved my skepticism for the bottom of this post. Do we really think Alex Smith fundamentally changed the way he plays football and is now going to stretch the field more often? It's just one game so I have plenty of hesitancies about that. I want it to happen, sure, and I hope they do because with a good ball they can win that matchup with Maclin often. I'm just skeptical that we're going to see Alex throwing down field on 16 percent of his attempts the rest of the season.