Kansas City’s Alex Smith is in elite company.
And he’s not happy about it.
He’s among five quarterbacks selected No. 1 overall in the last 25 years who lost when facing their former team for the first time.
It happened to Drew Bledsoe when he played New England, Michael Vick against Atlanta, Carson Palmer against Cincinnati, Peyton Manning against Indianapolis… and Sunday it was Smith’s turn.
Despite giving the San Francisco 49ers a healthy scare, Smith and the Chiefs suffered a 22-17 defeat on the road. The game ended when Smith’s deep pass was intercepted with two minutes to play, allowing the 49ers to seal the victory with three kneel downs.
The 49ers clamped down on defense in the second half, got 107 yards rushing from Frank Gore and four field goals from Phil Dawson. By winning consecutive home games, they gathered momentum for road games at St. Louis and Denver in the next two weeks.
On a day when the Cleveland Browns dug their way out of a 25-point hole to win at Tennessee, the biggest comeback by a road team in NFL history, there was no such rebound for the Chiefs.
Smith, widely regarded as a bust in his early years with the 49ers, when the team was a revolving door of head coaches and offensive coordinators, finally got traction under Jim Harbaugh and now Andy Reid.
Smith reportedly got a rousing cheer from a large group of 49ers fans as he left the locker room after the game. He’s among several quarterbacks to wear the red uniforms of both San Francisco and Kansas City, including Joe Montana, Steve DeBerg, Steve Bono and Elvis Grbac.
500 club: With four touchdowns against Arizona, Denver’s Peyton Manning joined Brett Favre as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with 500 career touchdown passes.
Manning’s at 503, so the record most likely will come in Week 7 against San Francisco or Week 8 against San Diego. (Favre had 508.) The Broncos play at the New York Jets on Sunday.
The touchdown totals drop off sharply after Favre and Manning, with Dan Marino at 420, followed by Drew Brees with 372 and Tom Brady at 363.
Bounce-back Browns: The Cleveland Browns hadn’t won a road game in more than a year. So when they fell behind in the first half at Tennessee, 28-3, they looked cooked.
What followed? An unanswered Cleveland scoring cavalcade — touchdown, field goal, safety, touchdown, touchdown.
“It’s just good to win,” quarterback Brian Hoyer said. “I said when we broke it down, ‘Let’s just win one by two touchdowns one week and not give everybody a heart attack.’ It’s great to always win, but to win coming back and know that you battled your butt off is a great feeling.”
Although they’re in the AFC North basement, the 2-2 Browns have a better record than any of the other cellar dwellers in the league, and all four of their games have been decided by three points or fewer.
Please pass the oxygen.
Kicking himself: In four years at Nebraska, kicker Alex Henery set an NCAA career record by making 89.5% of his field goals.
There’s no telling where that guy is now, because Henery missed all three field-goal attempts for Detroit in a 17-14 loss to Buffalo at home, including a 50-yarder with 21 seconds left. That doesn’t bode well for the former fourth-round pick of Philadelphia, who was signed to replace rookie Nate Freese two weeks ago.
“It’s a performance-based league, plain and simple, and you have to perform,” Lions Coach Jim Caldwell said. “Anyone that doesn’t, we take a look and see if we can improve that one way or another.”
For 21 seasons, the Lions had Jason Hanson booming those long kicks, and he made an NFL-record 52 of them from 50 yards or longer before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2013. The team might take a long look at Matt Prater, cut by the Broncos last week.
Meanwhile, Buffalo’s Dan Carpenter secured the victory Sunday for the Bills by nailing a 58-yard kick with four seconds to play.
Carpenter had missed a 50-yarder in the third quarter, and someone reportedly was shining a laser pointer in the eyes of Buffalo holder Colton Schmidt. After the game, Bills Coach Doug Marrone told reporters the laser issue was resolved after that kick, but didn’t elaborate.
Carried away: Some celebrations are spontaneous. Others, not so much.
That brings us to the decision of Buffalo players to lift defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz on their shoulders and carry him off the field after the Bills won at Detroit. After all, Schwartz was the Lions’ coach for five seasons before he was fired in December. Turns out, the celebration was a made-for-TV moment.
Bills linebacker Ty Powell told the Associated Press that Schwartz had asked in the off-season that he be carried off if his new players beat his old ones.
Said Powell: “I remember back in OTAs [Organized Team Activities], somehow he was talking about it in a meeting. He said, ‘When we go to Detroit, and we win, I want to be carried off the field.’ I remembered that in the game. So I turned to [linebacker] Randell [Johnson]; I said, ‘Hey, we’re going to carry him off the field.’”
Depth charge: Somehow, the San Diego Chargers keep winning despite being on their fourth running back and fourth center, both rookies.
Rookie center Chris Watt replaced Doug Legursky, who went down Sunday with a leg injury and had to be carted off the field. Legursky was signed last month after the team lost starter Nick Hardwick, and was pressed into action after a bad back sidelined backup Rich Ohrnberger.
At running back, rookie Branden Oliver had a terrific performance in Sunday’s 31-0 blanking of the New York Jets, rushing for 114 yards in 19 carries and scoring on a 15-yard run and nine-yard pass. The Chargers had already lost running backs Ryan Mathews (knee) and Danny Woodhead (ankle), and on Sunday, lost Donald Brown (concussion).
Those rookie outings were impressive. But of course in helps to have Philip Rivers at quarterback, Antonio Gates hauling in two more touchdown passes, and a defense that shut down the Jets offense, directed by Geno Smith and then Michael Vick.
Keep it down: The Dallas Cowboys play at Seattle in Week 6, so they have to be ready for noise. That’s OK, though, because they got a taste of it Sunday … at their own stadium.
After his team’s 20-17 victory over Houston, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo conceded there were so many Texans fans in the stands that he had to use the silent count when the home team’s offense was on the field. By comparison, Indianapolis is a library when Andrew Luck is running the Colts offense.
“I was a little bit surprised by the number of Houston fans,” Romo told reporters. “We need to do a better job as a team, as a fan base, to make sure how big of a difference playing at home is. I think going forward, I’m going to push that issue.”
Dome-bodies: Atlanta lost at the New York Giants on Sunday, marking the ninth consecutive time the Falcons have lost a road game played outdoors. They haven’t won in the fresh air since a one-point victory over Tampa Bay on Nov. 25, 2012.
Special delivery: Chip Kelly’s offense isn’t clicking the way it was last season, but Philadelphia is making up for it in other areas. The Eagles have scored seven touchdowns on defense and special teams, with five of them in the past two games.
On Sunday, for the second time in two games, the Eagles scored on a blocked punt. Throw in Chris Polk’s 102-yard kickoff return in Week 3, and Philadelphia has turned special-teams plays into touchdowns a club-record three weeks in a row.
“Turnovers equal victories,” said Cedric Thornton, who recovered a fumble for a touchdown in Sunday’s 34-28 victory over St. Louis. “We try to get our hands on the ball, and we’ve been capitalizing on it.”
The Eagles are the first team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to score seven non-offensive touchdowns in the first five games. One more, and they’ll tie the team record set in 1952.