Alex Smith played far better than his numbers

Chris Russell
September 25, 2018 - 2:37 pm
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Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

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Alex Smith and the Washington Redskins are on their bye week after a largely impressive 31-17 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

They did a lot right in piling up a 28-point first half, as featured in my report card, and a lot of nothing after halftime.

A major problem that must be fixed? The Redskins have yet to score a second-half touchdown in three games.

On Sunday, Smith was an efficient 12-for-20 passing for 220 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception that wasn't his fault. His rating was 110.4 and he also chipped in 20 yards on the ground, which were huge.

Smith got the offense humming right away as Jay Gruden came out with a dynamic pass look on first down, with Smith finding Jordan Reed on what appeared to be an option-route that was good for a seven-yard gain. Reed was not targeted last week until midway through the second quarter.

That can never happen again, and the tag-team of Smith and Gruden made sure of that. For one game, at least.

After converting on a short third-down pass to Vernon Davis, Smith did what he is more than capable of doing. He dialed long distance and Paul Richardson answered the call for a 46-yard touchdown. It wasn't the best throw – Smith was hit upon release – but play-action and a deep drop helped, along with a terrific adjustment and effort by Richardson, a player who is very good at snatching balls in tough predicaments.

The Redskins and Smith set this deception up well. Reed wasn't on the field, but Davis and Jeremy Sprinkle were, showing a two tight end look on first down (WATCH). The Packers are expecting the Redskins to run. If the throw lands where Richardson is completing his route, it is likely knocked away or intercepted, so Smith put it in a spot that only his receiver could get it.

Smith's other touchdown pass (WATCH) came on a bullet to Jamison Crowder, on a run-pass option look (RPO). With a converging safety and a corner with tight coverage on Crowder, the throw had to be perfect, and it was.

That scoring strike was set up by Smith doing exactly what the Redskins wanted him to do, which is why they traded for him. On third-and-7 in the red zone, up 14-3, Smith got a terrific wall of protection by the offensive line, as the Packers rushed three and dropped eight, before taking off to the home sideline.

He kept his foot in-bounds, out-stretched the ball over the first-down marker and kept Gruden from having to gamble on fourth down.

Smith also had a third-and-5 scramble earlier in the half to set up Adrian Peterson's first touchdown run. He was also partially responsible for drawing three defensive pass interference calls on one drive against the Packers.

The box score won't tell you this, but we will not let you down, Redskins fans. Alex Smith was a lot better than his workmanlike 240 combined yards.

Smith's only blemish on the day wasn't even his fault. Reed's route was impeded at the top of his break, with Smith expecting the tight end to head towards the sideline. He couldn't and didn't, which led to an interception that wasn't the fault of either player. Smith pointed this out after the game as well.

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