KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alex Smith was perfect. At least, in terms of quarterback rating.
Sure, it's a mercurial number that nobody seems to quite understand: Factor completion percentage with yards, touchdowns and interceptions per attempt, and then scale each variable to a value somewhere between 0 and 2.375. For all anybody knows, you might need to throw pi in there somewhere.
But the upshot of it all is that it spits out a number with the average somewhere in the mid-80s, and an exceptional rating over 100. But the quarterback of the Chiefs managed a 158.3 last Sunday in Oakland, the highest number possible.
Noteworthy? Sure, especially considering the Chiefs needed all the offense it could muster in a 56-31 shootout with the Raiders that kept them in the AFC West title hunt.
"Yeah, stats. Teammates made me look good," Smith said in his typically muted fashion. "I didn't do much. I mean, three screens for touchdowns. I've never been a part of anything like that."
This is true. Jamaal Charles took a bunch of screen passes that traveled a total of about 15 yards through the air for a whole lot more, making Smith's numbers look gaudy.
But Smith still was 17 of 20 for 287 yards and five touchdowns without an interception. And to achieve a perfect rating, a quarterback must complete at least 77.5 percent of his passes with 12.5 yards per attempt, a touchdown on at least 11.875 percent of attempts, and no interceptions.
Check, check, check and check.
"Alex has been doing it the whole year," said Charles, who caught eight of those passes for 195 yards and four touchdowns in a virtuoso performance of his own.
In the history of the Chiefs, the only other quarterback to post a perfect rating with at least 20 attempts was Trent Green against the Detroit Lions on Dec. 14, 2003.
"It's been fun playing with Alex," Charles said. "Playing with a quarterback who can run the ball and take pressure off me and throw the ball in crucial situations — he motivates us so much in the huddle. He says, 'Let's go.' We needed a quarterback like that, lead us to the way."
Perhaps it happened during his first few years in the league, when it appeared as if the former No. 1 draft pick was going to be a bust, when Smith became saddled with a reputation as a game manager: Weak arm, unwilling to take risks, wilts under pressure.