Alex Smith is now throwing downfield. The NFL is officially on notice.
Always known as a gun-shy QB, Smith let loose several accurate deep balls in Thursday’s opener in New England. The result was one of the best statistical efforts of his career, finishing with over 350 yards and four touchdowns.
It helps having rookie stud Kareem Hunt. After fumbling his first NFL carry, Hunt showed why he rose from mid-round draft pick to Chiefs primary ball-carrier. Hunt was dangerous on the ground and as a receiver, giving the Chiefs all sorts of balance on offense.
The attention to Hunt and Kelce opened things up for Tyreek Hill, who beat coverage for a 75-yard touchdown in the second half. That was the start of a dominant second half for the Chiefs, as Smith led them to an opening night victory on the road.
It’s the first four TD performance of Smith’s career, although he threw for five scores in 2013. It’s the third-highest yardage output for Smith, but it’s far and away his best production with under 40 pass attempts.
In the preseason, there was talk of Smith feeling pressured by the Chiefs drafting Patrick Mahomes in the first round. If that’s true, it’s working. Smith looked as aggressive as we’ve ever seen him on Thursday, and it exponentially increased the Chiefs output.
If this is the new Alex Smith, fantasy owners should be salivating. With a superstar in the making at running back, Smith could be in for his best statistical season yet. Losing the dynamic Tyreek Hill could have an impact, but Smith could be one of the more interesting fantasy players this season if he keeps up this aggressive style.
Smith is owned in 8.2 percent of ESPN leagues.