The distance from Helix High School in La Mesa, California to Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego is a little more than 8 miles.
For Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, a Helix Highlander alum, the journey to connect these two places has been a little bit longer than the 10-minute drive down Interstate 8.
"Some of my earliest memories of football are at this stadium," Smith noted after Sunday's 33-3 convincing win over the Chargers. "Coming and watching the Chargers play, watching San Diego State play here, I distinctly remember it—running around the stadium, watching football.
"Those are things you'll never forget."
Smith won't soon forget this game either.
The Chiefs thoroughly dominated the Chargers in every facet of the game, picking up their fourth straight win in the process.
From his teenage years to his time at the University of Utah, Smith has always been able to return to the city that developed his love for football.
"I'm fortunate in that I've gotten to play [at Qualcomm] at every level," Smith said. "I played here in high school, played here in college and now in the pros.
"It's fun to come back."
Smith had plenty of fun on Sunday as he put together one of his best performances in a Chiefs uniform, completing 20 of 25 passes for 253 yards.
The 10.1 yards per attempt is his best output since the Oakland Raiders game back in 2013 (14.35 YPA).
He completed passes to 8 different players and the offense as a whole had seven plays of 20 yards or more.
Led by Smith, they were clicking on all cylinders.
"I felt really prepared for anything we could get," Smith explained after the game. "I think it's a matter of everybody being on the same page. It's a credit to everyone, guys up front doing a great job battling and then guys outside seeing it the same way I'm seeing it and got us all on the same page."
It's been seven games since Smith has thrown an interception, spanning 253 consecutive passes, which is not only the longest streak for any quarterback in the NFL this season—it's also now a franchise record.
With his 47-yard hookup to running back Charcandrick West on a little circle route out of the backfield midway through the first quarter, Smith passed Steve DeBerg (233) for the most consecutive passes without an interception—a record that stood for more than 25 years.
"You never want to go out there and play to not throw an interception," he said after the game. "You're out there to score points and move the chains and execute the offense. I felt like we've been doing that the last few weeks. I think when you're doing things right and everybody's on the same page on the little things, it's really a credit to that.
"It's really a result of those things."
Over the past four games, the Chiefs have forced 12 turnovers and haven't given it away one time.
If you're looking for reasons for the recent dominance, that's a good place to start.
Postgame Facts and Stats from the Chiefs win over the Chargers in Week 11
On Sunday, the Chiefs defense held the NFL's fourth-ranked offense, which came into the game averaging 414 yards per game, to just 201.
"Any time you're holding an offense like that—a quarterback like that, to 3 points, it's pretty good to say the least," Smith said of the defense. "It's made our job easy. We had great field position all game. [The defense has] been on a roll these last few weeks and it just keeps going.
"I thought we did some good things on offense. I thought we got a lot of people incorporated, mixing it around, finding matchups we liked and guys were making plays."
One of the guys who made plays* was* Smith, who got one more opportunity to shine in a stadium that quite literally helped develop his love for football, and it's uncertain how many more opportunities he'll get to do that.