While I will go into more depth in The Candy Report tonight, I really cannot get over how many mistakes there were in this game. I have read a lot of posts about the play calling and such, which I always think “If it works you are a genius, if it fails you are a goat” but there are a few items I do want to point out:
1. This defensive effort would have won us about four more games last year. Outside of one mistake in alignment that put the entire defense on one side of the field and gave up a 58 yard TD run, and a few mistakes in the secondary that gave up two big plays (one of which was redacted because apparently the refs couldn’t read a digital display) and in the spirit of Christmas, we decided to give Portland State 55 of the 73 yards they needed to score a second TD in one drive, the defense pretty much dominated.
While many may say “where were the sacks” the point of Saturday’s defense was not to get sacks, but to keep everything in front of them and make sure the QB and running backs didn’t break big gains. It is the type of defense we will see in probably seven games this year. What you need to know about the defensive line is that, especially in the second half, when they need to shed guys they did. PSU looked like they were completely over-matched in the trenches and that trickled out to the rest of the team as the game went on.
2. In terms of play calling, and the offense in general, the mistakes we saw were almost comical in their volume. Outside of calling a shotgun play on the first play of the game you are starting a new center in (and thus his super amped up state launched the ball 18 yards behind the line of scrimmage) it is hard to fault a lot of the calls because the silly mistakes by the team negated their effectiveness.
Second drive? An incompletion on 3rd down gave OSU a 3rd and goal ath the 3. A totally reasonable fourth down play. Unless you get a delay of game. Then it is not. Which they did. And it was not.
Third drive? A great drive with a huge run, two great passes to Smith, two solid runs and then they go with a pass that only gets one yard, but gives them a totally reasonable 4th and 1 on the 3. Of course a false start would kill that option. Which it did.
Sixth Drive? A terrible sack in their 2 min offense killed that drive. So did the ensuing 20 seconds of wasted time that ticked off the clock.
Seventh Drive? A whole bunch of runs get them down to the 9 after a great turnover by the defense. Then, for some reason, we call four straight passes and fail. This one is on the coaches. While some of those passes were open and just missed, and I assume the coaches were trying to work on something, you are getting 5+ yards per fly sweep, Maybe give that a try…
From here on out, it felt like the coaches were trying to work on things. I am not sure why, but the play calling got super lopsided to the pass.
Regardless, penalties and mistakes killed at least 4 red zone drives. Sometimes coaches will take a shot on third and short knowing they will go for it on fourth as well. When you get delay of games or false starts, that kills all of that. The halftime score should have been 28 – 14, and Sean should have been sitting the fourth quarter.
Instead, sloppy play killed all of that. I am very disappointed, and I will get into this more tonight, but there is a silver lining.