Chiefs

Sean Smith’s stops slow Bengals temporarily, but not enough in Chiefs’ loss

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith reached back for a deflected pass off the shoulder pads of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones in the third quarter of Sunday’s game. The Bengals won, 36-21.
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith reached back for a deflected pass off the shoulder pads of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones in the third quarter of Sunday’s game. The Bengals won, 36-21. deulitt@kcstar.com

The Bengals’ first two possessions Sunday became an identical blur to the Chiefs’ defense.

Seven plays, 80 yards, touchdown.

Seven plays, 80 yards, touchdown.

The score stood 14-3, and the Chiefs were in desperate need of a stop.

Cornerback Sean Smith delivered.

In his first game back after sitting through a three-game suspension for a DUI charge, Smith started and contributed some big plays early in the Chiefs’ 36-21 loss.

“It felt great to be back out there,” Smith said. “It’s different from practice. You get whistles and all that, but when you’re out there live, you can compete and test your techniques and talent against somebody else.”

On several plays, that somebody else was A.J. Green, among the NFL’s top wide receivers who was coming off one of the best games of his career, a 10-reception, 227-yard performance against the Baltimore Ravens.

Green was off to a flying start on Sunday. In those two early touchdown drives, he caught five passes for 73 yards. On one, quarterback Andy Dalton mishandled a snap then bobbled the ball. No matter, Dalton chucked it up to Green, who had outrun the coverage for a 36-yard reception.

Finally, with Smith matched up against Green, the Chiefs came away with stops.

On second and 15 from the Bengals’ 14, Dalton hit Green on a screen pass that he threatened to turn into a big play. But Smith smothered Green for the stop after 5 yards, and the Bengals punted one play later.

On Cincinnati’s next possession, Smith came away with a breakup of a pass intended for Green, and the Bengals missed a field goal.

“On the screen, I was able to sniff that out and make a big play for us,” Smith said. “On the second one, it was old-fashion one-on-one football. He tried to get me with the back shoulder, and I was able to stay on top of it and make a play on it.”

With those moments, the game had slowed, at least momentarily for the Chiefs. Smith wound up with three tackles and the deflection.

With Smith back in the lineup, Ron Parker moved to cover cornerback with Hussian Abdullah at strong safety and Eric Berry at free safety.

After the huge start, Green finished with seven receptions. That’s a tough assignment for a return to action.

“First of all, A.J. is such a unique talent,” Smith said. “Your technique has to be on point every time. He’s very quick. He’s everything you ask for in a wide receiver. So I knew going into the game my footwork, everything was going to have to be on point.”

On a day when neither side could keep points off the board, at least the Bengals succeeded in limiting the Chiefs to field goals. With five touchdowns, Cincinnati never settled for three.

The Star's Blair Kerkhoff, Terez Paylor and Vahe Gregorian break down the Chiefs' 36-21 loss to the Bengals.

The Chiefs amassed 461 total yards and 24 first downs, the Bengals 445 total yards and 18 first downs.

“For us, it was about giving up big plays,” Smith said. “If you check out the stats, they’re pretty equal on both sides. The difference was, when it counted they stood up and forced us to kick field goals. And we just gave up way too many big plays.”

Blair Kerkhoff: 816-234-4730, @BlairKerkhoff

  Comments