KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Alex Smith is wise enough to know he won’t get any satisfaction from his return to the Bay Area this weekend if the Kansas City Chiefs don’t beat the San Francisco 49ers. It doesn’t matter how well Smith plays or whether he outshines Colin Kaepernick, who became the 49ers’ quarterback in the middle of the 2012 season when they decided Smith wasn’t good enough.
"I’m trying to get a win," Smith said. "I [couldn’t] care less about the stats and outdueling anybody. I know that this is going to be a story and that I’m going to have to deal with it.
"I’ll embrace going back there and accept it. You’re not in denial about it. You know what it is and you take it on."
As long as Smith sticks to that strategy, he should be fine on Sunday. That’s why I’m expecting Smith to play well against the 49ers. He’s done a nice job, at least since joining the Chiefs, of focusing on the task at hand and blocking out the distractions that can affect the way a quarterback plays.
Smith, for instance, had a dismal game, just like the rest of his offensive teammates, in the season opener against Tennessee. He didn’t let that drag him down. Smith played well the next week in Denver and also in the two subsequent games.
Smith, who was 35th and last among qualifying quarterbacks in passer rating two weeks ago, has since climbed to 14th.
Coach Andy Reid had a similar homecoming last year when the Chiefs went to Philadelphia to play the Eagles in an early-season game.
"What I did is I just ordered a cheesesteak and then I went and coached," Reid said. "You eliminate the clutter is what you do. You focus in on what you do. All that stuff doesn’t mean anything. You’re there to play the game. Once you say hi to your buddies, it’s over."
The cheesesteak isn’t necessary, and Smith may have trouble finding a good one in the Bay Area, anyway. Otherwise, he’d do well to follow Reid’s advice and Smith is smart enough to know that.