Pressing Monday questions from a relaxing Chiefs Sunday
SEP 30, 2013 9:54a ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- And sometimes, games just get ... weird. The Chiefs' two longest drives of Week 4 led to their first two touchdowns. They had the ball twice in New York Giants territory in the middle of the game thanks to timely, gift turnovers only to ... turn the ball right back over a few plays later and come away with nada to show for it. The hosts strung together their most impressive drive, length-wise (98 yards), since a 99-yard effort against Cleveland in 2006. The defense, meanwhile, allowed just one third-down conversion, the lowest for a single game in franchise annals since 2007 versus Cincinnati. With a 4-0 start and superlatives up the wazoo, why worry, right? Well ...
CHIEFS 31, GIANTS 7: THREE UNCOMFORTABLY PRESSING MONDAY QUESTIONS
:03 ... Holy crap, after throwing his first two picks of the season, is Alex Smith destined to flip into a turnover machine? Or was Sunday just the law of averages catching up with him?
Whoa, whoa, whoa, cowboy! Let's lean toward the latter. Consider this: Smith has now tossed two interceptions out of 146 throws this season, or one every 73 attempts. Last fall, he was charged with five in 218 attempts, or one every 43.6 throws. In 2011, it was one for every 89 tosses.
In fact, over his last 663 pass attempts coming into the fall of 2013, Smith had averaged a pick every 66.3 throws. So one every 73 actually falls pretty close to his recent (and vastly improved) form over the past two-plus seasons. Of the quarterback's two third-quarter picks, the first was the only questionable throw, given the benefit of hindsight, as he seemed to lock onto primary target Dwayne Bowe, giving Bowe's defender a chance to jump the route; the second interception, a trap off the turf, seemed to be more a random toss of the dice, a bad bounce, than anything else.
"For me, it's the types of turnovers," Smith said after the game. "As a quarterback, there are interceptions that you can control and there (are) ones that aren't your fault. For me, communication things on the outside, both balls were to one-on-one guys, I wasn't throwing into a town meeting of defenders. (They were) things that are easily corrected but need to get worked out communication-wise, but like I said, at this point they're easy enough to move on from. Especially with the team football we were playing, with the defense playing great, continuing to give us chances."
:02 ... What's going to happen to this injury-depleted Chiefs offensive line once they're up against a team with a pulse -- such as, say, the Titans?
It's safe to say, as a unit, the cats up front had seen better days than the one they spent Sunday against the G-men. Rookie right tackle Eric Fisher, whose up-and-down issues have been well documented, left the game with a concussion and was in limbo as of early Sunday evening. Center Rodney Hudson muffed a snap that led to a turnover. Even left tackle Branden Albert, who had been grading out as the club's most consistent lineman by ProFootballFocus.com despite his recent shoulder problems, was flagged more than usual in the second half. If anything, the subs used against New York -- Geoff Schwartz at left guard and Donald Stephenson at right tackle -- were more notable in that they kept their respective heads above water, for the most part.
Meanwhile, here comes trouble: Tennessee heads into Week 5 tied for third in the NFL in sacks with 14 as a club, having added five more to the mix against rookie signal-caller Geno Smith.
"These last few weeks, we've been able to break those long runs at the end of the game, which is a quality we'd love to have," Schwartz said. "But we also have to start faster."
:01 ... Can the Chiefs (finally) handle the legend that is Ryan Fitzpatrick?
Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker left Sunday's tilt in an ambulance, the result of getting sandwiched by two Jets defenders after throwing a pass with 11:14 left in the third quarter. Locker reportedly clutched at his hip as he hit the ground. Titans officials didn't offer much in the way of details as of early Sunday evening, but Monday reports indicated the signal-caller is likely out between four and eight weeks.
Which means the boys in Columbia blue are turning the keys over to an old friend -- or rather, an old pest: veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick, who chucked a 77-yard touchdown strike to Nate Washington on Sunday that capped the scoring in a 38-13 rout.
The Harvard alum owns a 4-1 career record against Kansas City, the highest winning percentage (.800) strung together against any foe Fitzgerald has seen more than twice. The Arizona native has thrown eight touchdown passes against the Chiefs, just two interceptions, and totes a career passer rating of 86.7 versus The Andy Gang. Good thing the Chiefs' defense is breathing fire and taking names right now, because there are few names outside of Denver, Oakland or San Diego that have given the franchise as many headaches as Fitzpatrick has in recent years.
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at email@example.com.
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