'Game manager' Smith wins with style Pryor couldn't emulate

Smith: 'Our defense made the plays; that changed the game'

'Game manager' Smith wins with style Pryor couldn't emulate
October 13, 2013, 5:45 pm
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This start has been awesome. You take them all one at a time, but we keep coming out with victories. That’s the important thing.
Alex Smith

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Alex Smith earned a title he despises on Sunday afternoon. The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback effectively managed a 24-7 victory over the Raiders, avoiding critical mistakes and big plays while the Raiders offense steadily crumbled.

Smith’s stat line was uninspired, save a zero turnover count. Smith completed 14-of-31 passes for 128 yards, no touchdowns and a dismal 56.9 quarterback rating.

Doesn’t matter much when you’re 6-0.

“This start has been awesome,” the former 49ers quarterback said. “You take them all one at a time, but we keep coming out with victories. That’s the important thing.”

Despite a pedestrian performance, Smith left with the victory Terrelle Pryor desperately wanted.

Pryor was the anti-Smith on Sunday, and it cost his team dearly. The dynamic playmaker threw three interceptions. One was returned for a touchdown. Smith turned the other two into scoring drives.

This comes a few days after Pryor offered a backhanded complement when asked how he compares to Smith.

“I think that I’m a little bit more risky than him,” Pryor said Wednesday. “Just from watching him, he does his thing, and that’s him. I just go and play ball. Whatever I see down field, I’m going to take a shot. I know they do a lot of check downs, something like 36% or something like that, that’s efficient, but we want to try and be explosive and we want to try and attack. That’s what I want to do.”

Smith has always taken victories over style points. That’s how he operated in San Francisco, and the 49ers were successful. But the team went with Colin Kaepernick’s vast potential and sent Smith to Kansas City, where he’s flourished under new Chiefs coach Andy Reid.

Still can’t shed that game manager title. He’s not actively trying, despite the fact he doesn’t like its connotation.

“It’s so easy to get caught up in the stats and the QB rating and all that stuff now,” Smith said. “For me, throwing it away is still the smart play. I’m going to continue to do that, although there’s definitely room for improvement. We’re 6-0 and that’s great, but we have to continue to take steps.”

Pryor continued to attack despite being under constant pressure behind a pourous line that gave up 10 sacks and 14 quarterback hits. His effort was in vain.

Despite being an unapologetic risk taker, Pryor would like to take a few costly throws back and exchange interceptions for incompletions. He acknowledged he sometimes needs to play the safe bet.

"It's hard for me to do because I'm a playmaker," Pryor said. "I love making plays. I just have to realize sometimes that it's time to quit."