Last night LSU was just better.
Sure, our offense is still a rotting and distended deer carcass on the side of the road. You aren’t wrong for pointing that out.
Kirby Smart will have to (probably) blow up the entire offense and start afresh this offseason. That could mean hiring his best friend Mike Bobo, among other options. But a change seems to be a-comin on that side of the ball.
But the entire thing wasn’t just about our offense. Our defense, typically a red wall of nameless superhumans, couldn’t generate much of a pass rush and, despite mostly holding a very well Louisiana-named Clyde Edwards-Helaire in check, couldn’t hold back Joe Burrow. Burrow extended plays with his legs, looked like a damned sorcerer in the pocket, and flat out beat us like we stole something at every level of the game.
What we faced last night was surely one of the best teams in the history of Louisiana State University, and it showed.
And yet as I awoke this morning, to innumerable people tweeting out the video of UGA SEC Championship gear getting carted out of Mercedes Benz Stadium, I had a moment of clarity that centered around this thought:
That wasn’t that bad!
From a football perspective? Oh we were absolute dumpster juice. A complete waste of everyone’s time!
From a soul-crushing Georgia loss that makes you want to leap into the abyss perspective though?
Not that bad!
We got beat by a better team. That’s not something that makes you wonder if the god/s that control the universe have a specific vendetta against you and those you love. That’s just something regular that happens in the course of usual events.
In fact, there is an odd comfort in the idea that we weren’t going insane all year.
This Georgia team just wasn’t up to par and everyone kinda felt it most of the year, as watching this offense was like fording a river full of animal feces.
You and I weren’t going insane!
We really WERE that bad!
There’s even an odd kind of joy in realizing, at least for this season, that the forces governing the contingencies of the universe are not conspiring to rip your entire soul from your body.
Instead, our team is just not very good at football!
And if we are looking for a bright side, it must be pointed out that this “diaper blow-out somehow also covered in vomit” of an offense was still good enough to win the SEC East. When healthy, we were a pretty close to being the spitting image of a Top Five football team. If we can get healthy next year and reload in some key positions, signs point to the the rest of the SEC East still having no idea where their car keys are. Who’s to say we don’t find ourselves back in Atlanta for the fourth time?
Again, I’m speaking here just from the perspective of: did this game make me want to give up on football forever? There were obviously bad moments that I don’t mean to gloss over—Dominic Blaylock’s and Tyrique Stevenson’s injuries being the obvious ones. We all obviously wish them a speedy recovery and an excellent season next year.
But, as a Georgia fan who has seen the worst and has, if I say so myself, a peculiar knack for describing the depths of despair that go along with being a Georgia fan, last night’s beat down was just that: a beat down.
We got beat real bad at the game of football.
But there was no last second Hail Mary, no missed field goal by a beloved player, no sense of impending doom that our very secure lead was about to evaporate before our eyes.
LSU put in their backup QB but it was only because we were getting our ass whooped! It wasn’t because God hates us and wants us to suffer as much as possible!
The perfect moment of the game was the opening of CBS’s Halftime Report.
The first sentence out of Adam Zucker’s mouth was “Could be worse!”
And that was really the story of the night. From a football perspective we were soundly defeated in every aspect of the game.
But for a fanbase who have suffered within the past three years one of the worst national championship losses of all time, there was a profound relief to be found in the simple fact that we were not good enough to beat the team that we had to play.
There are so so many ways that last night could have destroyed us down to the molecular level of our spirits.
Instead, we just lost.
And that was all there really was to it.