KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- On the list of plays Alex Smith would like to have back from his two seasons as quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, two against the Denver Broncos would be at or at least near the top of the list.
Both came on fourth down in the game’s final moments with the Chiefs inside the Denver 20 and needing a touchdown to either tie the game or win it with a two-point conversion, one in 2013 and one last season.
History would no doubt look back more favorably on Smith’s first couple of years with the Chiefs if he gets the job done in either case. But he threw incomplete both times and as a result Smith and the Chiefs are winless against the Broncos since his arrival.
Much goes into success at times like that and it’s certainly not all Smith’s fault the Chiefs came up empty on both plays. His choice of receivers in 2013 on the fateful play included a fading Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, Sean McGrath and Junior Hemingway. Last year, he was choosing among Bowe, Avery, Hemingway, Anthony Fasano and Knile Davis.
Smith had nobody open on either play but unnecessarily rushed a throw each time. He twice tried to jam the ball to a well-covered Bowe and when it twice fell incomplete, the Chiefs were defeated.
Those are but two plays of hundreds from his time with the Chiefs. But the fact remains the Chiefs are very light on fourth-quarter comebacks with Smith as their quarterback. Most of their 20 wins with Smith under center have come when the Chiefs led in the fourth period and didn’t need him to guide a comeback.
Unless the Chiefs carry many leads in the fourth quarter and hold on for victory during Smith’s remaining time as their quarterback, this will be a hole in his game. The great ones are defined by what they do in the fourth quarter with the game on the line and in the most important games of the past two seasons, Smith hasn’t gotten it done.
Smith needs to deliver if the Chiefs get in another late-game, do-or-die situation in Thursday night’s game against the Broncos. The Chiefs have added receiving threats to help. Jeremy Maclin is the best wide receiver he’s played with in Kansas City. Travis Kelce is the best tight end. Jamaal Charles will be, unlike in last year’s fourth-down failure against the Broncos, healthy. The Chiefs have even removed Bowe from the equation.
The Chiefs have done their part. It’s time for Smith to do his.