Red Zone

Chiefs offensive snap decisions: Alex Smith finding success with deep passes

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith.

Here is the offensive snap-count data from the Kansas City Chiefs’ 21-13 win over the Oakland Raiders on Thursday, along with some personal observations and advanced stats from Pro Football Focus. Snaps for the entire season are also listed.

(You can also read my snap observations on the defense and special teams.)

KEY: “*” denotes starter. “R” denotes rookie. “C” denotes game captain. “INJ” denotes injury. “N/A” denotes the player was not a Chief at the time. “PS” denotes practice squad. “INA” denotes inactive.


Alex Smith5549875364INJ2952647563647172682987.6%
Nick Foles00000584500000010382912.4%

Analysis: This game marked the first time all season that Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith completed three deep passes, as he went 3 for 3 on such throws for 109 yards and a touchdown, according to PFF. He’s completed 7 of 13 deep passes for 251 yards and a touchdown the last four games. Smith handled pressure well for the second straight week, as he went 5 of 8 for 106 yards, a touchdown and a sack in such situations. Smith also had success attacking safety Nate Allen, who was in the lineup for starter Karl Joseph, and ball-hawking corner David Amerson. Allen allowed three catches on three targets for 86 yards and a touchdown, while Amerson allowed six catches on seven targets for 110 yards.

One other interesting thing of note is that Smith has only seen pressure on 27.1 percent of his drop backs this season, which is the 26th lowest out of 29 qualifying quarterbacks. This could potentially support the Chiefs’ public explanation of Smith’s lack of scrambling, which is that teams have been dropping a ton of guys into coverage this season to take away his legs and force him to throw into tight windows.


Spencer Ware (C)4038424141INJ2636405445363547482957.2%
Charcandrick West13113310204542148INJ14263326982932.4%
Knile DavisINAINA102010N/AN/AINA7110318293.7%
Jamaal CharlesIRIRIRIRIRIRINJ21510INJINJINJ278293.3%

Analysis: Not much surprise here. Ware continues to command the lion’s share of the work, with West pinch-hitting when necessary.


Jeremy Maclin42INJINJINJINJ26543537360636546682956.2%
Chris Conley3742875154515430387051546168082982.0%
Tyreek Hill (R)25255936393421181818127932182938.7%
Albert Wilson113659404641201195121414943582952.5%
De'Anthony Thomas2733910121112INAINAINAINA698298.3%
Demarcus Robinson (R)000000000002028290.2%

Analysis: Jeremy Maclin played for the first time in over a month and a resumed his role as lead dog among the receivers. It is notable, however, that Tyreek Hill outsnapped Albert Wilson for the first time in six games, and that De’Anthony Thomas logged a season-low in snaps (in games he’s been active, at least).


Travis Kelce4139874461436747557158556273082988.1%
Demetrius Harris3331302022303627361531192835882943.2%
Anthony Sherman (C)24718841110111901010113382916.0%
James O'Shaughnessy4383613149120100738298.8%
Ross TravisINAINAINA417INAINAINAINA611612568296.8%
Dontari Poe000000101000028290.2%

Analysis: Travis Kelce has been targeted 39 times over the last four games; he’s also had five of his seven drops during that time span. All five of Kelce’s catches Thursday came between the numbers. The Chiefs also turned to Anthony Sherman for a season-high 24 snaps in an effort to play power football on a cold night against the Raiders.


Eric Fisher55498753645874526475636471829829100.0%
Mitch Morse55498753645874526475636471829829100.0%
Mitch Schwartz55498753645874526475636471829829100.0%
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif55498753645874526275INJINJ7170082984.4%
Zach Fulton5549875364583316756364060882973.3%
Jah Reid367020100INJINJ6408382910.0%
Bryan Witzmann000000INAINAINA000INA08290.0%
Parker Ehinger (R)IRIRIRIRIRIR4252640INJINJ7122982927.6%

Analysis: This marks the sixth straight game this offensive line has played together. The offensive line surrendered the strip-sack to Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack, but they held up reasonably well against him in both games this season, holding him to two sacks and four quarterback hurries. Jah Reid earned three snaps as a sixth lineman.