The following breakdown has been amended due to a factual mistake regarding defensive statistics and the benefit of video review. The defense went up a letter grade and the offense went down one. The overall grade stayed the same, however. Very poor. …
ATHENS — No. 8 Georgia (4-1, 2-1 SEC) was humiliated by No. 13 Alabama (4-1, 1-1) 38-10 Saturday night at rain-soaked Sanford Stadium. Following are the grades the Bulldogs deserve for their effort:
Thanks to Nick Chubb and one single play in the third quarter, Georgia’s offense had something to offer to the postgame highlight package. Otherwise, the Bulldogs simply could not make any plays on offense. They had 10 three-and-outs in 18 possessions not including a pick-six on one play in the first half. Other than Chubb’s 83-yard TD run late in the third quarter, Georgia averaged 2.97 yards per carry. Meanwhile, despite good pass protection, quarterback Greyson Lambert either couldn’t find an open receiver or didn’t have any. And Brice Ramsey came in and played even worse.
Georgia didn’t lose this game because of its defense, but it didn’t do the Bulldogs any favors. Alabama produced a 148-yard rusher (Derrick Henry), a 190-yard passer (Jake Coker) and a 120-yard receiver (Calvin Ridley). That’s primarily because they did not put any pressure on the quarterback all night and did not record a sack for the first time all season. However, Alabama also went 1-for-14 on third- and fourth-down conversions (0-2) and was held 81 yards below its average of 460 yards per game. Overall, Georgia forced two fumbles and stood up fairly well to the Crimson Tide’s famed rushing attack, which was limited to a manageable 4.0 yards per carry.
SPECIAL TEAMS: F
There is no greater failure in the world of special teams than to allow a rusher free passage through the inside of the line to block a punt and turn it into a touchdown. Alabama’s Minkah Fitzgerald slipped untouched between Dominick Sanders and Roquan Smith and then was missed on the back end by Josh Dawson. D’Andre Walker also committed three penalties on special teams. Georgia failed to down punts inside the 10 and could not generate a return game. Very bad day.
Georgia appeared to be Alabama’s match in wits and athleticism through the first 25 minutes of play. But the coaching staff’s first failure was in whatever special teams preparation was lacking to allow a blocked-punt TD, then in keeping the team’s emotions in check thereafter. The Bulldogs were penalized eight time for 82 yards, including several personal fouls when players lost their cool.
The good news is Georgia has an opportunity to recover from this catastrophe. The Bulldogs looked similarly awful when they lost to South Carolina 35-7 in 2012 and still made it to the SEC Championship Game and nearly to the national championship. But they will have to make across-the-board repairs in all areas, including the team’s psyche after this humbling experience.