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Alex Smith and the Chiefs were ridiculous on third down against the Texans

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Go back to the last few years and think about what third and long meant to the Kansas City Chiefs. It meant the Chiefs offense was going in a shell and Alex Smith was throwing short of the sticks. There’s a stat from Football Outsiders called ALEX that measures how short of the first down marker someone throws. Hint: It’s named ALEX for a reason. I don’t give up on the Chiefs but I used to give up on them when they were facing third and long.

The new Alex Smith doesn’t care about third and long. On Sunday night in Houston, the Chiefs were ridiculous on third down - in a good way! The Chiefs had 16 third downs and threw the ball on 12 of those. They converted 9/12 of those.

They had three third and long conversions on the first drive alone. They converted on third downs of 14, 11 (twice) and 16. It was unbelievable. They went over the middle to Travis Kelce. They went over the top to Tyreek Hill. They threw crossers. Alex got out of the pocket, baited defenders to chasing him and threw first downs. I mean, they did it all on third down.

Third down is the money down. If you’re good on third down, you can be a great offense. The Chiefs are fifth in the NFL on third down percentage. The four teams ahead of them are the 3-4 best teams in the NFC (Eagles, Panthers, Packers, Rams).

MNChiefsfan did a better job putting this into context but I wanted to tally up all the third downs anyway (bold is a conversion):

3rd and 7: 16 yards

3rd and 6: 10 yards

3rd and 14: 19 yards

3rd and 5: Incomplete

3rd and 11: 12 yards

3rd and 6: 4 yards

3rd and 11: 20 yards

3rd and 4: 8 yards (touchdown)

3rd and 7: Incomplete

3rd and 1: 10 yards

3rd and 1: 5 yards

3rd and 7: 0 yards

3rd and 16: 38 yards

3rd and 5: Incomplete

3rd and 6: 1 yard

3rd and 7: 2 yards