We just ran all the way around a win to get to a loss. Let's separate this out.
Offensively. Tavarres King just uncovered another Spartan jock strap on the Ray Jay turf. I didn't mind the patience in the first half. It looked like we were stretching the defense laterally while taking shots downfield. Murray threw some spectacular deep balls while we tried a variety of tailbacks and tried to contain the relentless pass rush of the Spartans. The two best play calls were the waggle to move Murray's pocket away from the rush where he hit King for 80 and the underneath to Boykin out of the backfield. Just terrific.
But in the end, Bobo couldn't make up for the lack of protection or the failure of the tailbacks. At one point I simply pleaded with him to leave Samuel in to pass protect and simply give up on the run. Yep, it was that frustrating.
What I don't understand is not attacking the edges with quick passes or toss sweeps. Bobo continually called runs into the heart of the Spartan rush. We were never able to establish the play action and for some reason left the screens at home.
Despite evidence to the contrary, the stats show that Orson Charles was indeed in Tampa yesterday. Like Murray, Bobo never saw him.
Defensively. John Gruden's crush on Alec Ogletree is second only to this blogger's. We were able to get Cousins flustered as I expected, however we never kept our cleats on his confidence's throat. Eventually they neutralized Jarvis by cutting him at the line. There was an adjustment to that by bringing him up the middle some, but all in all we just never threatened Cousins consistently. He had time to work through his checks and did a decent job of managing the game.
The stats show they struggled as much as we did establishing the run. However, LeVeon Bell found enough room to open up the field for Linthicum and BJ Cunningham. Boykin, Smith and Commings all pitched in and did a good job against Cunningham but overall our route coverage wasn't up to the challenge. That was unexpected. Throughout most of the season our pass rush has benefited the secondary and the d-backs have been there when the pass rush was managed. Not so much yesterday though.
If that was Washington's last game, he went out with a wimper.
Individually. As for Walsh, crappy way for his career to end after becoming the points leader. And I admire him for taking responsibility for the misses. But this loss isn't his alone by any measure. Murray frequently looked to be on a different page than his targets. Richt has to be second guessing himself after going all in early with the 4th down call (that backfired) and then playing as conservatively as possible in the first OT (which also backfired). Saw a lot of questions last night about Jenkins' injury. I saw him in OT with his jersey off and his left arm in a sling. I think he landed on it funny after the tackle on his interception.
On the plus side, Malcome played hard while injured and Boykin had a career game, as did King for that matter. Mitchell made some clutch grabs in traffic and special teams looked solid.
All in all, more questions than answers. A lot like the middle of September.