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More Small Ball Coming Steelers’ Way Sunday Night

Are you ready for some more small ball? I hope so because that’s exactly what the Kansas City Chiefs offense will be playing Sunday night at Heinz Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

If you think Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz threw short passes and got rid of the football quickly last Sunday, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is the king of dink and dunk passing and knowing how to effectively run the West Coast offense. He’s a classic game manager who likes to feast on short fields and the Steelers have had two weeks to prepare for him this time.

I charted the Chiefs Week 3 win over the New York Jets and below are Smith’s passing distances from that game in addition to his snap to throw and sack times.

As you can see below, Smith’s average snap to throw time against the Jets was 2.23 seconds on the 33 passes. That’s a quick average for sure and even lower than Wentz’s average of 2.41 seconds last week.

Now, its worth pointing out that Smith’s average snap to throw or sack time on third downs against the Jets was 2.87 seconds. Both times he was sacked in that game came on third downs and well after 3.5 seconds post snap. In fact, of the 9 times Smith has been sacked so far this season, 6 of them have come on third downs.

I’m pretty sure most of you know that Smith is not a big fan of throwing the football down the field and that certainly was on display against the Jets. 24 of the 33 passes Smith threw last Sunday traveled 7 or less yards past the line of scrimmage. Of the 8 passes that he did throw 10 or more yards down the field, Smith completed just 3 of them with his longest being 13 yards down the field. On the season, Smith is just 5 of 18 on passes thrown more than 15 yards down the field.

Smith and the Chiefs aren’t really hard to figure out offensively, but with that said, the Steelers defense won’t be able to stop it if they don’t effectively tackle those short throws right away and can’t get to Smith on third downs. The running back dump-offs have killed the Steelers defense so far this season so you know you can expect a few of those Sunday night.

The Steelers would be wise to play their cornerbacks up more often this week and dare Smith to throw the football down the field on early downs. On third and longs, they can play the chains and hopefully get pressure on Smith via an extra rusher. More than anything, the Steelers have to force Smith to play on long fields all night and hopefully make him play from behind as that is when they should really be able to get after him.

 Q TIME  DWN DST  LOS RES TTT  DIST PLAY BY PLAY
1 12:12 1 10 KC17 C 1.58 4 (SG) A.Smith pass short left to R.Travis to KC 21 for 4 yards (D.Lee).
1 10:56 3 7 KC20 C 2.87 2 (SG) A.Smith pass short right to T.Kelce to KC 30 for 10 yards (D.Harris).
1 10:19 1 10 KC30 I 1.56 5 (SG) A.Smith pass incomplete short right to J.Maclin.
1 10:16 2 10 KC30 C 2.00 8 (SG) A.Smith pass short left to J.Maclin to KC 39 for 9 yards (M.Williams).
1 8:59 1 10 NYJ44 C 2.14 -6 (SG) A.Smith pass short right to C.West to NYJ 42 for 2 yards (Jo.Jenkins).
1 8:15 2 3 NYJ37 C 2.44 -4 A.Smith pass short left to R.Travis to NYJ 31 for 6 yards (B.Skrine; Jo.Jenkins).
1 6:05 3 9 NYJ30 S 3.65 (SG) A.Smith sacked at NYJ 38 for -8 yards (sack split by D.Lee and L.Mauldin).
1 1:05 1 10 NYJ25 C 2.37 6 (SG) A.Smith pass short middle to T.Hill to NYJ 12 for 13 yards (D.Revis).
1 0:21 1 10 NYJ12 C 2.57 2 A.Smith pass short left to T.Kelce for 12 yards, TD.
2 13:10 1 10 KC47 C 1.65 3 (SG) A.Smith pass short left to D.Harris to NYJ 47 for 6 yards (D.Harris; Jo.Jenkins).
2 11:17 1 10 NYJ42 C 1.16 -3 (SG) A.Smith pass short left to T.Hill to NYJ 31 for 11 yards (M.Williams).
2 10:40 1 10 NYJ31 I 2.74 11 (SG) A.Smith pass incomplete short right to T.Kelce.
2 9:59 3 10 NYJ31 C 3.37 10 (SG) A.Smith pass short middle to C.Conley to NYJ 20 for 11 yards (D.Revis).
2 9:18 1 10 NYJ20 C 1.11 -4 (SG) A.Smith pass short left to T.Hill to NYJ 18 for 2 yards (B.Skrine).
2 8:34 2 8 NYJ18 I 4.08 1 A.Smith pass incomplete short right to D.Harris.
2 8:32 3 8 NYJ18 C 2.17 5 (SG) A.Smith pass short left to T.Kelce to NYJ 3 for 15 yards (M.Gilchrist).
2 7:47 1 3 NYJ3 C 1.37 -4 A.Smith pass short right to T.Kelce to NYJ 4 for -1 yards (M.Wilkerson; Jo.Jenkins).
2 6:21 3 9 NYJ9 I 4.46 5 A.Smith pass incomplete short right to C.Conley.
2 2:00 1 10 KC16 C 1.04 -1 A.Smith pass short right to T.Kelce to KC 27 for 11 yards (C.Pryor).
2 1:34 1 10 KC27 C 2.18 0 (NH, SG) A.Smith pass short right to C.West to KC 27 for no gain (D.Revis).
2 0:45 3 3 KC34 C 1.65 -1 (SG) A.Smith pass short left to C.West ran ob at KC 40 for 6 yards (M.Williams).
2 0:40 1 10 KC40 I 2.52 35 (SG) A.Smith pass incomplete deep right to J.Maclin (J.Burris).
2 0:34 2 10 KC40 I 1.94 30 (SG) A.Smith pass incomplete deep middle to J.Maclin [M.Wilkerson].
2 0:29 3 10 KC40 S 3.82 (SG) A.Smith sacked at KC 32 for -8 yards (sack split by S.Richardson and L.Williams).
3 14:17 2 9 KC10 C 3.54 10 (SG) A.Smith pass short left to C.Conley to KC 30 for 20 yards (M.Gilchrist).
3 13:38 1 10 KC30 C 1.76 13 (SG) A.Smith pass short right to J.Maclin to KC 47 for 17 yards (D.Lee).
3 12:23 2 9 KC48 I 1.97 37 (SG) A.Smith pass incomplete deep left to T.Hill.
3 12:17 3 14 KC43 C 2.20 2 (SG) A.Smith pass short left to S.Ware to NYJ 49 for 8 yards (A.Allen; B.Skrine).
3 8:36 2 8 KC39 C 2.91 6 (SG) A.Smith pass short right to T.Kelce to NYJ 19 for 42 yards (M.Gilchrist).
3 7:48 1 10 NYJ19 C 1.92 7 (SG) A.Smith pass short right to C.Conley to NYJ 6 for 13 yards (D.Revis; M.Gilchrist).
3 0:10 3 2 KC28 C 1.50 7 (SG) A.Smith pass short right to D.Harris to KC 36 for 8 yards (M.Gilchrist; Jo.Jenkins).
4 14:27 1 10 NYJ48 C 1.89 3 A.Smith pass short left to A.Sherman to NYJ 45 for 3 yards (D.Lee).
4 12:59 3 6 NYJ44 C 3.56 -4 (SG) A.Smith pass short right to J.Maclin to NYJ 39 for 5 yards (B.Skrine).
4 7:39 2 11 KC19 C 1.15 -4 (SG) A.Smith pass short right to J.Maclin to KC 23 for 4 yards (D.Harris).
4 6:51 3 7 KC23 I 2.32 22 (SG) A.Smith pass incomplete deep middle to C.Conley.
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