I know I should probably wait a couple of days before writing this edition of my Bama blog after such an emotional game, but I seriously doubt that Iíll be much calmer about this weekís game in the near future, so I figured Iíd go ahead and write it.As Iím sure you all know by now, Alabama lost to LSU 24-21.It was certainly a heartbreaking loss, and there is really no way to minimize the importance of this game in the context of the season.Losing to LSU definitely ends our run at the national championship, and almost certainly eliminates us from SEC championship contention.Itís pretty hard to swallow that both of those goals are now out of reach with three games left in a season where we were the consensus Number 1 team in the nation, but thatís where we stand now.
Believe it or not, I actually think we played pretty well against LSU.I guess that sounds odd since we lost, but as Ayn Rand says in one of her less idiotic moments, ďWhen there appears to be a contradiction, check your premises.ĒIn this case, if your premise is that weíre the best team in the nation, and if we play well, weíll win, then yes, it seems odd that Iím saying that we played well.But if your premise is that weíre a pretty good but not great team, then itís certainly possible to play well against a Top Ten team on the road and lose.In my opinion, thatís what happened.
Our offense started the game like it has the last several games, with our offensive line getting spanked like an Amish boy that didnít finish his vegetables.Finally, we managed to put together a TD drive, but it seemed like every play on that drive was like pulling teeth.Richardson managed to squeak the ball across the goal line on third down, but tweaked his ankle as he was going in, which limited his play and production for the rest of the game.I thought that was a crucial loss, because as much as I like Ingram, our offensive line requires absolute superhuman effort from the running back to get across the line of scrimmage, and I think Richardson is better at breaking tackles than Ingram right now.Regardless, our defense managed to hang on for the rest of the half, and we took a slight 7-3 lead into the locker-room.
I guess I was too optimistic at that point, because I assumed that we would make adjustments at halftime that would turn things more in our favor after the break.However, LSU drew first blood in the second half as Jordan Jefferson hit Reuben Randleon a 70+ yard TD pass against our ďrush no-one, cover no-oneĒ defense (more on that later).We came back with our best drive of the game to take a 14-10 lead, but then we completely collapsed in the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was absolute torture for us Bama fans.After we screwed up in every possible way to give LSU a seemingly insurmountable 24-14 lead, we put together an absolutely heroic drive to cut the lead to 24-21 with over three minutes left.We even forced them into a 3rd and 13, and it looked like we were actually going to have a chance to tie or win at the end.Unfortunately, we channeled the Bama defenses of the early to mid-2000s for one fateful play, and left Reuben Randle wide (I mean WWWIIIIIDDDEEEE!!!!!) open for a 40+ yard pass to put the game away.Iíve watched that play about a dozen times, and I still find it amazing that on a play where we had so many defensive backs (since no one was rushing the passer), they managed to stay that far away from Randle.It really doesnít seem physically possible, but somehow, we defied all odds and pulled it off.
Reading my summary, I know it sounds really negative, but like I said earlier, in general, I thought we played pretty well.Sure, our offensive line got worked like an engineer in a room full of business majors, but thatís not because they played poorly; itís because theyíre not very good.We lost the only really good offensive lineman off of last yearís team (Johnson), and to think that the average to below average lineman coming back were going to somehow be better was really pretty ridiculous.I thought our receivers and running backs played as well as they could under the circumstances, and I even thought that McElroy played well.Sure, he took some sacks and had that one fumble that really pretty much ended the game, but with his two interior lineman Vlachos and Warmack doing nothing more than making a Soul Train line for the LSU defensive players to run through, I thought he handled himself as well as possible.
As for our defense, yes, I know that we gave up some huge plays, any of which could have changed the outcome had we just played decent fundamental football, but again, as Iíve said a dozen times in these very blogs, our defense is only average.Remember, we really only have one or two starters (depending on who you count as starters) back from last yearís very good defense.Like I said before, if those guys were better than the ones we lost, they would have been starting last year.That being said, in general, I thought our guys played really hard, and at times, actually looked pretty solid, at least for the first three quarters. Yes, itís frustrating, but again, when there appears to be a contradiction, check your premises.
I guess Iíll close for now.If somehow Georgia beats Auburn (which absolutely, positively, without a shadow of a doubt wonít happen), then weíre actually back in the SEC West hunt.Otherwise, our season boils down to only one thing, beating Auburn, and for that to happen, there has to be a massive turnaround.Hopefully weíll see signs of that turnaround next week against Mississippi State.
As always, feel free to send me any questions or comments.Until next time, Roll Tide.