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Taylor: Mahomes bringing best, deep ball out of Smith

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  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
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The football world is still trying to wrap its collective head around Thursday night's opening upset.

Will Tom Brady ever be the same without Julian Edelman? Can anyone stop Tyreek Hill? Who the hell is Kareem Hunt?

But the most pressing and tongue-in-cheek head-scratcher of the aftermath has been: When did Alex Smith start throwing the ball past the line to gain? How did one of the game's most notorious game-managers, for lack for a better term, shock the defending champs with a slew of 70-plus-yard touchdown bombs?

Let NFL Network's Ike Taylor explain.

"It's been there, but it's Patrick Mahomes," Taylor said of Smith's deep ball on Saturday's maiden episode of Good Morning Football Weekend. "So we've been we've been watching Patrick Mahomes in the preseason, right? And all we've been talking about is what? His arm. Deep throws. So he's looking at Tyreek Hill, he's looking at De'Anthony Thomas, these guys are burners, right? So he's just been going deep.

"What has Alex Smith not been doing? Throwing the ball deep. Competition brings what out of you? The best or the worst? So now Alex Smith is like, 'You know what? They've got this young stud they drafted earlier in this draft. [Mahomes] is throwing deep. Maybe I should throw deep too. So honestly, he took the leash off himself."

It might be a stretch to say that Smith, by himself, made the decision in-game to toss it long to wide-open speedsters in an attempt to keep the strong-armed rookie's ascent at bay. Andy Reid and his Kansas City staff had been game-planning for months -- or as Reid likely understood it, multiple bye weeks -- and took advantage of mismatches and blown coverages on both long TD tosses; Hunt found himself speeding by linebacker Cassius Marsh, and Hill beat Stephon Gilmore and Devin McCourty in a Cover 2.

But there is something to Smith's dynamite season debut in respect to Mahomes. The preseason consensus was that the veteran, with his short tosses and clock-killing drives, would be supplanted by the rookie gunslinger at some point this season because, well, change is nice sometimes.

Through that lens, Smith's four-touchdown onslaught can be seen as a reminder to Chiefs brass and fans that he's still capable of leading Kansas City to another division title and, with his veteran presence and these weapons at his disposal, deep into the postseason.

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