First, the only good news from the game: Nick Chubb kept his 100-yard streak alive. Moving on…
It took almost exactly one minute of game time for things to go south. Georgia was able to counter Alabama’s opening field goal, but they couldn’t muster an answer to Henry’s touchdown run. Within a minute, a blocked punt, another three-and-out, and a deep touchdown pass turned a close contest into a 21-point deficit that might as well have been twice that. Georgia was out of answers and had no effective adjustment or response to that second quarter blow.
When you set a game up as a measuring stick, such a decisive outcome lends itself to some pretty decisive and absolute conclusions. I don’t think this is an end-of-the-road type of game (as opposed to the 2009 Tennessee game). Alabama is an outstanding team that was simply better than Georgia in many areas. They’ve recruited better. As Jeremy Pruitt said postgame, Alabama’s eight years into things that Georgia is just now starting to do. As tough as it is to think about two days removed from the loss, some of the changes made in the past 12 to 18 months need some time to take hold.
But that’s longer-term stuff, and this game was about more than that. Opportunities were missed early in the game to put pressure on Alabama. Mitchell was open on the game’s first play. Outstanding field position following Alabama’s fumble was squandered. Even a high-percentage pass to the fullback wasn’t completed. A questionable penalty set Georgia up with the game’s intitial first-and-goal. Was Alabama fortunate to get to the second quarter with a tie score? Yes and no – yes in that Georgia misfired on several chances to go up early but no in that Alabama was a very active force in limiting what Georgia was able to do with those opportunities.
So from the beginning Georgia’s execution – at quarterback, in the secondary, at receiver, on special teams, and especially on the sideline – was lacking. Teams that beat Alabama make those plays and take advantages of the few openings the Tide allow. Alabama on the other hand made their own opportunities and cashed in on them with several explosive plays.
It’s not worth going into the bullet points – they’re all variations of the same thing. The more important thing now is to avoid letting this poor performance become a second loss. They were able to do that in 2012, but it took some exceptional leadership to get there. Does this Georgia team have that kind of rebound in it?