Last season the Kansas City Chiefs traveled to Philadelphia to face the Eagles. It was a game they came out firing on defense and finished with offense. The game was significant because it was a homecoming for their new head coach, Andy Reid.
After the victory last September, players talked about winning this game for their leader. No it wasn’t Quarterback, Alex Smith, it was the man who resurrected the franchise and the players wanted to give something back to Reid.
This Sunday the players get the exact same opportunity to do it again when they take on the San Francisco 49ers. To a man, they’re going to line up, play smash mouth football, and help their quarterback take revenge on the very team that dumped him after the 2012 season.
Though Smith will tell you coming to Kansas City was a breath of fresh air, that doesn’t mean he didn’t circle this date when the schedule came out last April. He’ll never admit it publicly, but the game means something special.
In 2011, he guided the 49ers to the cusp of the Super Bowl but special team turnovers left him standing at the alter. A year later, Smith suffered a concussion midway through the season and missed a couple of games.
During that absence the 49ers discovered the talents of back-up quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. Smith never got back on the field as his understudy guided the 49ers to a Super Bowl showdown with the Baltimore Ravens.
Disappointed that he never got his shot, he very politely asked the franchise to trade him. As it turned out, the team that wanted him the most, the Kansas City Chiefs, happily gave up a pair of second round draft picks to secure his services.
Last year Smith guided the Chiefs to an 11-5 record. This year he started off slow but has put together a trio of games that has pushed his team back into contention in the AFC West.
However, the division items can be settled on future Sundays. At hand for the moment for Smith, will be defeating the team that never appreciated the talents of their former first round draft pick. That means Smith can get his mini Super Bowl victory on Sunday by laying wood to his old team.
In order for that to happen, all the Chiefs need to do is simply play like they have in back-to-back blowout wins over the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. Seems pretty simple to me but when emotions are this high in any NFL contest, simple isn’t always the norm.
Still when you look back at the path that Smith has taken to Kansas City, one that has rewarded him with a contract fitting for a franchise quarterback, its hard to think Smith won’t deliver in this game.
The 49ers have a stout run defense so they could slow down the two-headed monster of Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis. However, with an offensive line playing it’s best football of the season, the emergence of Tight End, Travis Kelce and Wide Receiver, Dwayne Bowe, Smith has a variety of options offensively to assault the 49ers defense.
Regardless in order for the Chiefs to defeat San Francisco, this game will boil down to turnovers, coaching decisions on the sidelines and playmakers on the field getting it done in crunch time. That aside, this game exudes drama and I would not bet against the Chiefs in this game.
The city of Kansas City is on the ultimate sports high right now with their baseball team, the Kansas City Royals, on the verge of clinching a spot in the American League Championship Series.
In their own right, the Chiefs have been great theatre the last couple of weeks and Sunday afternoons contest in San Francisco would be a fitting place for this team to deliver the good for their fans to set the tone for what could be the greatest sports week this city has ever experienced if the Chiefs and Royals are victorious.
Yet for the Chiefs with bye week looming the most important item for the football team is that with a victory, Smith can guide his Chiefs to a 3-2 mark with a win over the 49ers.
Even further, should his teammates get that done for their franchise quarterback, don’t be shocked if this football team is off and running toward gaining a post season spot.
Photos: Alex Smith (John Reiger and Denny Medley USA Today Sports)
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