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Smith again shows ability with arm and legs

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The Sports Xchange

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Chiefs victory in London over the Detroit Lions was a showcase for quarterback Alex Smith, and not just for his right arm. Smith also dazzled with his legs, running five times for 78 yards, including a 49-yard run and a 12-yard touchdown scamper. That 49-yarder was the longest run of Smith”s career.

“I”ve just become smarter with it,” Smith said of taking off out of a shrinking pocket. “It”s knowing when to take chances, knowing game circumstances and avoiding a bad hit when I”m running.”

On the season, Smith has rushed for 202 yards on 36 carries, a very nice 5.6-yard average. If he follows up with the same numbers over the last eight games of the 2015 season, it will be one of the biggest rushing seasons of his career.

Since he was traded to Kansas City before the 2013 season, Smith has run 161 times for 887 yards in 38 games. He is the fourth most active runner from the quarterback position in the last three seasons, trailing only Seattle”s Russell Wilson (272 carries for 1,691 yards), San Francisco”s Colin Kaepernick (241-1,419) and Carolina”s Cam Newton (268-1,369 going into Monday night”s game.) Smith is now 31 years old, while Kaepernick is 27 and Wilson and Newton are 26. The Chiefs are 3-0 in games where Smith rushes for a touchdown.

Oh, by the way Smith finished the game completing 18 of 26 passes for 145 yards and two touchdown throws.

–After throwing together a host of changes on the offensive line for the previous week”s victory over Pittsburgh, the Chiefs were forced to do it again in London. This is how the team lined up from left tackle through right tackle in the last three games:

Minnesota – Donald Stephenson, Ben Grubbs, Mitch Morse, Zach Fulton, Eric Fisher.

Pittsburgh – Fisher, Grubbs, Morse, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Jeff Allen.

Detroit – Fisher, Allen, Morse, Duvernay-Tardif, Jah Reid.

One of the keys for the Chiefs against the Lions was keeping their offense balanced, much as they did the week before against Pittsburgh. By the time the 45-10 victory was over, the Chiefs ran 63 plays on offense, with 32 runs and 31 pass plays.

“You”ve got to give those guys upfront credit for what we were able to do,” said quarterback Alex Smith. “We need to have some balance on offense and the only way to be able to get that done is to have a productive running game. In the last two games we”ve had so many changes upfront, but those guys pulled together, showed their versatility and did the job.”

–One notable statistic in the win over Detroit was the Chiefs” four rushing touchdowns coming from four different players: quarterback Alex Smith (12 yards), wide receiver De”Anthony Thomas (10), fullback Spencer Ware (4) and running back Charcandrick West (8).

It was only the second time in franchise history where four different players scored rushing touchdowns. The last time it happened was October 2, 1960 when the then-Dallas Texans of the American Football League got rushing scores from quarterback Cotton Davidson, fullback Bo Dickinson, running back Abner Haynes and running back Johnny Robinson.

–Outside linebacker Justin Houston made a name for himself as a pass rusher, but in Sunday”s game against Detroit in London, he also influenced the game with his first interception of the season and the second of his career. The first came in the 2012 season against Tampa Bay. Houston also did the thing he does so well, picking up 1.5 sacks, giving him 5.5 on the season. Last year in his team record-setting performance with 22 sacks, Houston had 12 quarterback takedowns at midseason.

–Tight end Travis Kelce grabbed a 2-yard pass from Smith for a touchdown, his first since scoring twice in the season opener against Houston. He went six games without reaching the end zone.

Notes: LG Ben Grubbs (neck) did not make the Chiefs trip to London because of a neck problem that popped after the game against Pittsburgh. No word from the Chiefs on Monday concerning his current condition and the prognosis for his return. Head coach Andy Reid gave the players the week off and they will not return until next Monday. … ILB Ramik Wilson (ankle) did not make the trip to London because of a high right ankle sprain that he suffered two weeks ago against Minnesota. … DE Mike DeVito (concussion) did not make the trip to London has yet to pass the NFL testing protocol and will now have the next week to recover.


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