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Alex Smith knows he can't continue to take physical pounding

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For a quarterback who has gone down 12 times the past two weeks and is on something close to the record pace for number of times sacked in a season, Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs appeared to be in good shape on Wednesday.

But there’s also an awareness on his part that it’s going to be difficult for him to survive much longer if he keeps taking that kind of physical abuse.

“We all know that kind of trajectory is not where we want to be," Smith said. “It’s not a good thing. You hope to get it changed."

Smith has been sacked 18 times, tying him for the NFL lead with Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. The NFL record for times sacked in a season is 76, set in 2002 by Houston Texans quarterback David Carr.

Smith is on pace for 72, which would tie him for second all-time. Randall Cunningham of the Philadelphia Eagles was sacked 72 times in 1986.

“I feel good," Smith said. “I do, to be honest. I feel really good. I know it’s a number and guys are looking at the total but they’re all different. There are a lot of weeks where maybe your sacks total isn’t as high but you’re taking a lot of hits or maybe you’re running the football more and you’re more sore."

The physical toll the sacks are taking on Smith isn’t the worst of it for the Chiefs. They were held to seven field goals in last week’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in part because their five sacks killed drives.

Job one for the Chiefs offensively this Sunday against the Chicago Bears at Arrowhead Stadium is to protect Smith. He agreed with that notion but said the Chiefs couldn’t stop with just that.

“We’re not going out there saying, ‘OK, we’re not going to take sacks,’" Smith said. “That’s not the focal point. The focus is we’re going to go out there and score points. We’re going to go out there and score points and move the football. In doing so, part of that is we’re going to get rid of the football. We’re going to be smart. When they are bringing more guys than we can block, the ball needs to come out. The guys up front are going to block and do their job. It’s on all of us."

With that, Smith began a defense of the offensive line. He pointed to the Chiefs’ 461 yards as evidence things were as bad as they seemed in that regard.

“To have that kind of production we had last week doesn’t happen without the offensive line playing really well," he said. “It doesn’t happen. It starts with them. You’re not going to run the ball and throw the ball like we did without those guys playing really well. We’ve played some good defenses. We’ve been on the road. All of that stuff plays into it. I think we’re moving in the right direction.

“I’m part of it. You look at all these sacks and I know the offensive line is taking a lot of hits. I’ve got my fair share in there where it’s like, ‘What are you doing?’"