From a statistical point of view, Saturday night was Georgia’s worst defensive performance during Kirby Smart’s tenure as head coach.
Mac Jones and his wide receivers Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith took a punch in the usual tough secondary. Jones threw 417 yards and four touchdowns. Smith caught two of them while Waddle also had one.
The Bulldogs averaged 564 yards of offense. The last time Georgia gave up several yards in a single game was against Auburn in 2013.
Neither Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa or Baker Mayfield or any of the other great quarterbacks Georgia has seen in recent years have put on a performance as good as Jones.
“Their quarterback I thought played really well. They had great skill players, we knew they were coming in,”; Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. In the second half, we ‘can’t do it. We can’t stop them. “
Jones is not the only one having an out-of-body performance against what is the SEC’s top defense unit. Smith and Waddle both have big games. So did backing Najee Harris, who ran more yards against Georgia – 152 – than the Bulldogs surrendered in their first three games.
But for now the bigger, and more pertinent, storyline since Saturday is how Waddle and Smith regularly waged battles against the likes of second Georgia.
Smith finished with 11 catches in 167 yards. He had two touchdowns in the game, the second being the final nail in the Bulldogs’ coffin.
WOW … NFL catch. pic.twitter.com/e9f04nL3DJ
– GEORGIA HEROES (@GeorgiaHeroes) October 18, 2020
“When you play man-to-man with those guys you have to get the ball out and be able to play,” Smart said. “I thought DeVonta Smith was really playing big for them tonight. He got a lot of 50-50 balls as well as Waddle.”
Waddle put in almost the same production as he had 161 yards. But he only needed six catches to make it. Waddle’s third-quarter touchdown in which he zoomed past Tyson Campbell gave Crimson Tide a lead for good.
GOODBYE JAYLEN WADDLE! 90 YARDS AT HOME! pic.twitter.com/SCaA6rYY9e
– CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 18, 2020
“The men couldn’t run with Waddle, so they reached for it and took him instead of putting their hands on him and stopping him,” Smart said. “It’s huge.”
The numbers could have been better for the two wide receivers if Georgia had not imposed many penalties against each of them. One of those – a passing penalty for interruption against Eric Stokes – made the first-down attempt a first and foremost. Harris scored in the ensuing play for Alabama to push the Crimson Tide lead to 34-24.
“When we got into trouble, they were able to make the most of every play,” Richard LeCounte said.
The Bulldogs also did not do nearly enough good work on hitting Jones to make some errant passes. In Alabama’s opening drive, Azeez Ojulari hit Jones as he threw, forcing an errant pass blocked by LeCounte.
But that was the only blocking of the night for Georgia, as Alabama picked three Stetson Bennett passes.
It was easy for this defeat to bring extra weight for the Bulldogs, especially when the defense legitimately became one of the best units in the country to come in a week.
LeCounte still believes there is confidence in what the Bulldogs are guilty of. And surely Georgia will not face another offense as dominant as Alabama on a regular basis.
“We’ll be back to the drawing board where we can fix where we messed up tonight and after our season out. We’re fine,” LeCounte said. so that in the future we may be well. “
Georgia defensive back Richard LeCounte talks about defensive deficits against Alabama
The Georgia defense will have next week before facing Kentucky on October 31. Continuing, the defense more often than not will look like this in the first three games as opposed to Saturday night.
But the problem is that if Georgia wants to go where it is going, it will likely see the likes of Waddle, Smith, Harris and Jones again.
So the team will have a lot of work to do to move on from the literally ugliest defensive performance of Smart’s tenure.
“It was a learning experience. They got us the first time. But we will still play ball there.
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