Kansas City Chiefs

Bob Lutz: Chiefs, Alex Smith fall hard at Green Bay

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) fumbled the ball after being hit by Green Bay outside linebacker Nick Perry (53) during Monday night’s 38-28 loss to the Packers.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) fumbled the ball after being hit by Green Bay outside linebacker Nick Perry (53) during Monday night’s 38-28 loss to the Packers. Kansas City Star

If I was a Chiefs fan, I would not panic. But I’m not a Chiefs fan, so that’s easy for me to say.

I do sense some elevated heart rates, though, after Monday night’s 38-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field..

The reasons not to get too worked up start with the Chiefs’ schedule. After next week’s road game at Cincinnati – and yes, a 1-3 start looks plausible – things get better.

But it’s hard not to tell a Kansas City fan not to worry about quarterback Alex Smith, who has not taken the leap – at least not yet – I expected from him this season.

With the addition of receiver Jeremy Maclin, I expected Smith’s numbers and confidence to grow. He’s a veteran and a strong leader and, I believed, the perfect guy to implement Andy Reid’s system.

Well, I’m trying to herd some of those back into my mouth.

Smith was terrible in Monday’s first half, when the Chiefs were falling beneath a 31-7 deficit to the great Aaron Rodgers.

And as an aside, is now the time to insert Rodgers’ name into all discusssions of greatest quarterbacks in history? Because I’m willing to do that if you give me the go-ahead.

Back to Smith and the Chiefs. The quarterback is catching a lot of grief today and it’s warranted. He may have finished with 290 passing yards and A TD PASS TO A WIDE RECEIVER!!!! But he was terrible in the first half when the Packers were building a 31-7 lead. During that time, Smith completed two of seven pass attempts for 39 yards. Green Bay fans were making a lot of noise, some of it no doubt laughter directed at Kansas City’s passing attack.

Smith was sacked seven times. Nice job, O-Line. He was rushed, pushed, prodded and pulled. And mostly he lacked the poise and judgment to make the best of difficult situations.

Oh, and the Chiefs’ defense allowed about 450 yards. I recognize Rodgers is among the all-time great quarterbacks (thanks for granting permission to use that term), but he is without Jordy Nelson. Still, Green Bay has the ageless James Jones and the combustible Randall Cobb to go with the powerful Eddie Lacy in the backfield. Weapons are not in short supply.

The Chiefs, though, have weapons of their own. Maclin is the best wide receiver the Chiefs have had, at least on paper, since . . . I’m thinking. Otis Taylor? OK, maybe we don’t need to go back that far to find a comparable wide out, but they haven’t exactly grown on trees in KC.

Tight end Travis Kelce is one of the best in the business and I picked Jamaal Charles in the first round of my fantasy draft. That says all you need to know about him. Or me. Or something.

The Chiefs are supposed to be good this season and perhaps they still will be. We’re only three games in, but the sucker punch by Denver still stings and the Chiefs looked like they were still romanticizing about the blood moon during the first three quarters against Green Bay.

KC should feast against the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions. Baltimore, another future opponent, is 0-3. Denver is 3-0 atop the AFC West but the Broncos hardly look like world-beaters. Oakland is 2-1 but how much does anyone trust the Raiders? And San Diego is leaking oil. The Chiefs also have Buffalo and Cleveland left to play.

So the ship has not sunk.

It’s time, however, for the offense to crank. Smith is the key, although the offensive line has to do a better job and the Chiefs must put themselves into a position where Charles, their most dynamic threat, is carrying the ball more than 11 times.

For now, let’s assume Monday’s performance was just one of those nights. A clunker in the midst of what can still be a successful season.

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