5 Takeaways from Alex Smith's Explosive Week 15 Performance

Dilan Ames@@DilanAmesNFLCorrespondent IDecember 17, 2013

Dec 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) prepares to throw a pass against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs are riding a two-game win streak heading into Week 16 and look more in sync than ever. Smith's ability to lead a team before this season was questioned by some, but at this point it's clear he's the quarterback of this team and can lead them to the promised land.

He had a huge day last Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, completing 17 of 20 passes for 287 and five touchdowns with zero interceptions. We learned many things from his performance, but none more important than the fact that he's the real deal.

More than a game manager

Smith has been dubbed a game manager on many occasions, but his stats this season are proving otherwise. This past game against the Raiders was his best game this season (maybe ever) and showed that he has more tools than the traditional game manager.

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It's more than the numbers, though; his ball placement was on point and did well in getting it out of his hands quickly. Now that he's got the team back on track after their three game losing streak, the Chiefs are getting hot at the right time and will be dangerous in the postseason.

Jim Harbaugh could've been a richer man

It wasn't so much that Jim Harbaugh gave up on Smith as much as Colin Kaepernick forced his hand, but he may wish he still had Smith at this point. In his past four games, Smith is averaging 253 yards per game and has thrown 12 touchdowns to two interceptions. The Chiefs have averaged 42 points in that span as well.

The 49ers only got a second- and third-round pick for Smith, but with how he's played this season, Smith looks to be even more valuable. He was a big part of their 9-0 start to the season and is an important cog in their offensive attack.

The Chiefs are going to the playoffs for the first time in a while, and it's in large part because of Smith.

Andy Reid is a smart man

When most people were down on Smith after he was supplanted by Kaepernick, Andy Reid was one of the few people who truly believed he could quarterback a championship team.

As one of his first big moves as the Chiefs' head coach, Reid hit a home run with the Smith trade. He's got his quarterback for the next five years, and that saves a new coach much anxiety.

Reid's keen eye for potential makes him one of the smartest men in the NFL, and Smith is proof of that.

Alex Smith: Top 10 quarterback?

Alex Smith vs. Top QBs (last four weeks)
NamePassing YardsPassing TDsInterceptionsCompletion %
Alex Smith1,01112269%
Drew Brees1,1318268%
Tom Brady1,4979365%
Peyton Manning1,23913462%
Russell Wilson9457268%
Pro Football Reference

Smith's current hot streak has garnered the attention of many pundits, and for good reason. Few quarterbacks have been as effective as Smith has been in the past month-and-a-half, and he's proving his worth as a top-flight quarterback in this league.

Once considered a bust, Smith has fought his way back from that moniker and is giving the haters a good reason to hate.

Without Smith, the Chiefs aren't a playoff team

The Chiefs have largely lacked leadership in the past few years, and that's something they now have with Smith. He may not receive all the credit for his stats because of Jamaal Charles' chilling stat line, but he still put on one of the most efficient passing performances of the past decade.

Think of Kansas City as a Ferrari that just needs to be driven smoothly to maintain its high level of performance. Smith has been a master of cruise control all season long and is a big reason why they've experienced such a big turnaround from last season. 

*All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference*