Chiefs making good use of Smith's legs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith’s career record for rushing in a season is 179 yards, his total for the 49ers in 2011. That mark is already in jeopardy.

Smith has 82 rushing yards in the Chiefs’ two games. He was their leading rusher in Sunday's win over the Dallas Cowboys when he carried eight times for 57 yards.

This isn’t merely a case of Smith frequently scrambling out of trouble, though he’s doing that well. His 17-yard scramble allowed the Chiefs to convert on third-and-15 and was the key play on Kansas City’s first-quarter touchdown drive.

But the Chiefs are actively calling his number and making good use of his running ability. He’s been running some option and other called quarterback runs.

Those plays were a key early in the game against the Cowboys. The conventional running game wasn’t working, so Smith’s runs helped take some pressure off the passing game.

“We tried to involve him [because] they were packing the box on us,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “We went with the option game where we [didn’t have to block] that extra person.

“When he had chances to scramble, there were some nice lanes there and he took advantage.’’

Smith and the Chiefs might eventually regret asking him to run so much if he gets injured. He took a couple of solid hits after runs against the Cowboys, though he popped up each time.

For now, at least, it’s a valuable part of the Chiefs’ offense.

“I didn’t know it was going to happen like that," Smith said, "but it’s certainly something I do feel like if given the opportunity I can move the chains and be effective.’’