Many fans have called for quarterback Alex Smith to be benched because of playing they deem to be poor. I have always been an avid Smith supporter and think he is an integral part to the team’s success. This Sunday when Philip Rivers and the Chargers travel to Arrowhead, fans will get to see what the game looks like without Smith at the helm.
Smith suffered a lacerated spleen during the game against Pittsburg and will not play in the season finale. Chase Daniel is set to get the start. Daniel played as backup to Drew Brees for three seasons. He did play against the Chargers last year in the season finale and showed promise. Against the Chargers, Daniels was 21 of 30 for 200 yards with a single touchdown. During the 2013 season he showed glimpses of promise with a completion of 25 passes out of 38 for 248 yards.
According to ESPN’s Adam Teitcher, Smith said he felt discomfort after the game but did not think it was serious. He said it was like a stomach pain that would not go away. He was able to fully participate in practice Tuesday and Wednesday and he did not feel limited. He does regret taking those two days of practice because he ate up snaps that could have gone to Daniel.
Typically a lacerated spleen injury takes 6 weeks to heal according to Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder. He also says if Smith were to take another hit and the laceration expands it could lead to a more serious injury.
The Chiefs are still in the playoff hunt so this game is a must win situation for the team. While there are many other factors at work here, a win Sunday is the most important.. The Chiefs must beat the Chargers while the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans need to lose or tie so they can make it into the playoffs. Even if the team doesn’t make it to the postseason, it is important to end on a good note. No pressure for Daniel.
If fans were nervous for Week 17, it has only gotten worse with the news of the starting quarterback being injured. It’s time to put our red on, make the noise levels at Arrowhead thunder, add Smith to the list of players in our hearts with injuries, and say a little prayer things will fall into place like they did in 2006.