Chiefs QB Alex Smith on Scrambling Plays: "There's a Pattern to the Chaos"

Smith explains his connection with Jeremy Maclin

From an outsider's point of view, the lone connection between Alex Smith and Jeremy Maclin on Saturday afternoon against the Seattle Seahawks might have looked like a glorified version of backyard football. 

Smith scrambled outside of the pocket while being chased by defenders, and the receivers were just running around after their initial routes no longer sufficed because the timing was now off.

It's not uncommon for these plays to take place during a game, and on Saturday, Smith and Maclin displayed the kind of chemistry that can only take place with plenty of repetition, and also plenty of trust.

On third-and-9 from the 21-yard line, Smith found Maclin up the left sideline for 20 yards on one of only eight plays for the first-team offense in the game.

Just looking at that particular play in a box score doesn't give everyone involved the credit they deserve for all of the nuance involved in making it happen.

It was this play that set up Spencer Ware's 1-yard touchdown run.

"There's a decent chunk of plays that break down," Smith explained after the game on Saturday. "A lot of that is dress rehearsed and you understand guy's habits."

After setting a franchise record for receptions in a season (87) by a receiver last year—his first in Kansas City—Maclin has developed a trust with Smith that he'll be in the right place at the right time, even if the play doesn't go initially as planned.

"There's a pattern to the chaos, and it's rehearsed," Smith added. "The more you practice it, I think the better you get."


Smith explained what happened on this particular play.

"I was really trying to hit Kelce in the middle of the field and actually had him open. I had kind of lost vision, the D-lineman had kind of jumped as I was going to throw it and just kind of tucked it and all of a sudden just kind of found myself rolling out."

As Smith went rolling out, Maclin saw what was happening and adjusted accordingly.

"The play is never dead with him," Maclin explained of Smith. "He has great mobility and he has the legs to move around and extend the play a little bit. My job is to never give up on the play.

"I came across on the shallow route and saw the defender kind of push up on my left side so I tried to get up the field and Alex was able to hit me, but the big thing with him is that nothing is ever dead."

After having a chance to review the film, head coach Andy Reid said that everybody involved look good on that play when he spoke with the media on Sunday afternoon.

"We go over that stuff and it's hard to do it versus air," Reid explained of that play. "I mean we do it (at practice), but you've got to get into games to really do it. They executed that one and if you look close, you'll see that Albert Wilson did a nice job too. I mean he was down in there in a scoring position along with Maclin.

"I thought they handled it well, and then Alex rolling to his left—that's a tough deal. That's a tough one to throw right on the spot like that. I thought that was well done for this early in the year."

Smith agreed that there are just certain things that have to be repped in a game situation.

"It was a chance to let your instincts come into play," Smith explained. "Broken plays happen, and I think a true test of a quarterback is on game day for sure. Practice isn't quite the same."

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