Jason Avant was in the middle of a dig route when he locked eyes with Alex Smith, who was rolling to the right.
This was Dec. 7, the third quarter of the Chiefs’ 17-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and what happened next — a midplay adjustment that led to what was then the Chiefs’ longest pass of the season — might have been easy to overlook, considering the outcome of the game.
“They had a better defense for that play, and that happens sometimes,” Avant said. “He looked at me during the play, and to me that meant to take it high ... that’s what his eyes told me and that’s what I did, and he just threw it.”
Avant’s resulting 41-yard catch — in which he took off deep and Smith actually threw it up to the 6-foot, 210-pounder in single coverage — was a textbook example of all of Avant’s strengths. Strong hands. Veteran savvy. Good focus.