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How one crazy Alex Smith stat reveals less is more for Washington wins

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In two of the past three Washington games quarterback Alex Smith threw for more than 300 yards. 

Washington lost both games. 

In Sunday's game against Cincinnati, Smith threw for just 166 yards. 

Washington won. 

The yardage total seems low, but digging deep into Smith's career numbers, it's actually a good sign for Washington.

Since Smith joined Washington before the 2018 season he's gone 2-0 in games where he throws for fewer than 200 yards and completes at least 65 percent of his passes. 

The accuracy is key, and that's been a consistent metric throughout his career. 

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Since 2015, Smith is 9-0 when he throws for fewer than 200 yards and completes at least 65 percent of his passes. In fact, going all the way back to his rookie year in 2005, Smith is 19-5-1 in games where he completes 65 percent of his passes and throws for under 200 yards. 

There are a few things to consider, especially as increased running production almost always correlates to increased winning percentage. But for Smith, it's more than that, it's game management and accuracy that lead to victories. 

Against the Bengals, Washington ran the ball well and achieved balance on offense. 

Smith threw for 166 yards and the team ran for 164 yards, and for Ron Rivera, that's the way to win games. 

"I promise you if you go back and you look at teams that win consistently, steady winners, you’re going to see QBs that throw for 150 to 225 yards," Rivera said Monday on the Washington Football Talk podcast. 

 

Washington's coach explained that when he was with the Panthers, his teams won about 75 percent of their games when they rushed for 100 yards or more. Rivera called it "the recipe for success."

For Smith, he can succeed in lots of ways, but gaudy passing yardage totals aren't the easiest route. Balance is key, and Washington will be looking for balance in Dallas on Thursday.