Breaking down Alex Smith’s standout performance versus Patriots

National recognition continues flowing toward Alex Smith following his week one outing against New England. The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback posted the league’s top performance, but how much does his effort from his past history?

Alex Smith week 1 2017 (Courtesy

Head coach Andy Reid certainly shares credit for a successful game plan. The last few months proved Reid ample time building the right attack against the Bill Belichick-led Patriots. Smith’s playmakers also deserve credit for extending numerous plays.

Comparing Smith’s week 1 performance to his divisional playoff performance against Pittsburgh in January shows more similarities than differences. The execution of Smith in the two contests, however, stands out in stark contrast.

Smith attempted nearly the same number of passes against New England and Pittsburgh — 35 and 34 respectively. He completed eight more against New England, however, than he was able to against Pittsburgh.

The dispersion of target depths looks eerily similar as well. Smith attempted four passes of 20 yards or longer in both contests. He completed only one against Pittsburgh. Against New England Smith completed three of the four and two went for long touchdowns after the catch.

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Alex Smith divisional playoff in January 2017  (Courtesy

Smith again attempted roughly the same intermediate level passes between 10 to 20 yards — eight against Pittsburgh and 7 against New England.  In both contests he hovered near a 50 percent completion rate.

Smith’s passing map still weights towards the short area. The biggest change for Smith in 2017, however comes behind the line of scrimmage. Smith attempted only four passes behind the line of scrimmage vs New England (shovel passes excluded) compared to nine attempts behind the line of scrimmage vs Pittsburgh in the divisional playoff.