In the words of the immortal Lewis Grizzard: “Frankly, I don’t want to talk about it.”
Unlike Lewis, I’m going to anyway. It’s tempting to view this game as a referendum on Kirby Smart and Georgia football writ large and to rend your garments and wail.
I would resist that temptation. Tonight Georgia faced an Alabama team that made every play it needed to make, with the best quarterback in the country, and got a few great bounces. That was what it took to win a contest of heavyweights.
We wondered all season if a secondary that lost so many players to the NFL would eventually be exposed by a high-powered offense. And indeed they were. Georgia came into this game giving up an average of 238 yards per game. They gave up well more than that by halftime.
The UGA offense, on the other hand, made a lot of plays. Unfortunately several of them were bad, and they largely fell at the feet of Stetson Bennett. Bennett’s overall numbers weren’t that bad. If I told you the Mailman would deliver 340 passing yards on 29 of 48 passing and 3 touchdown passes you probably would have been excited. Right up until the point I told you about the 2 interceptions, including a pick 6.
We’ll certainly be tempted to yell that this proves that Kirby can’t manage quarterbacks and JT Daniels should have been ready for this game and he would have given Georgia a better chance. That’s totally everyone’s right. I would point out however that Daniels has looked pedestrian in his last major action against Missouri, and we haven’t seen Stetson Bennett look anything but exceptional. So that conjecture about Daniels may be correct, but it’s conjecture without any concrete basis.
Bennett’s performance honestly looks worse in part because we can’t help but compare it to Bryce Young’s night. Young was a startlingly similar 26 of 44 with 3 touchdowns. But that’s where the similarities to Bennett’s night ends. Young had no interceptions and seemed like he couldn’t have cracked under pressure if he tried. His 3 rushing attempts for 40 yards felt like 140 because they came in one back-breaking situation after another.
Young should probably also take some of his copious pile of NIL money and use it to take his offensive line to, well, whatever the nicest steak house in Tuscaloosa is. I assume it’s still Denny’s. But no matter where it is the Tide front five earned it. The unit that surrendered seven sacks to Auburn last week kept Young upright for most of the game. When they got him in trouble, he got himself out of it with flair.
Again, some are going to gripe after this game, because let’s face it we haven’t had a loss after which to gripe in fourteen months. Go ahead and use that free membership of the mope ass of the month club. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
But Georgia is about to be in the College Football Playoff. Alabama is too. Georgia didn’t have Alabama’s number tonight and there’s a lot to be done to find it. But you’re never in the aggregate as good as your best win or as bad as your worst loss. I still think this is a team that could catch the Tide under the right circumstances, and may yet get that chance.
For now, remember, a loss isn’t an excuse to show your hindquarters to the world, or your fellow commenters. Respect your fellow Dawgs, respect the moderators, and show some respect for yourselves and the Crimson Tide. But especially for Bryce Young, who may be a cyborg.