Intros are stupid.
On to the next thought:
A 53% Sober and 100% Accurate Rundown of Absolutely Everything
First of all, as if we needed more reasons to worship Greg F. Gaines and the joy he brings to We the Lowly Fans™. I don’t think it’s histrionic to say that seeing that cannon ball-looking dude dive for a one mile per hour interception was the best thing to happen to all of humanity forever, and yes I’m including the fall of the Berlin Wall and discovery of penicillin and invention of beer, so don’t ask. Not to be hyperbolic or anything, but have you ever seen Mr. F. Gaines and Superman/Thor/Sigourney Weaver as Ripley/Aragorn/but also Ken Griffey Jr. in his defensive prime in the same room at the same time? Didn’t think so. Checkmate, motherf*^&er.
And for that I would like to thank not only God but also Jesus.
Continuing on with thoughts on the defense, ever since the Rutgers 2017 game I haven’t been shy to talk about how much I like Keith Taylor. That being said, he blew a really, really, ridiculously easy tackle on Bryce Love’s touchdown; and I get the whole “Taylor’s four inches taller than Love and it’s #RealDifficult to #GetLow and #Leverage and crap” thing, but Love was completely stopped by a wall of the interior line and front seven and was all but stationary. Taylor’s attempted tackle off the edge had the form of somebody trying to make a touchdown-saving ankle dive instead of actually driving through, and good luck trying to stop even a stationary Bryce Love if you’ve taken you’re lower body out of it. That’s my rant over.
Anyways, still love Keith Taylor. Just not right then, right there.
On the “Things about the defense that makes Gabey happy” card: Byron Murphy’s interception right out of Trenton Irwin’s hands — a guy who’s 25 lbs and three inches taller than him. I don’t know if it was just that any turnover on this turnover-starved season is an instant shot of dopamine, or if it was that Murphy wrestling that ball away felt so much like the physical manifestation of aggressively flipping Irwin the bird, or if it was the first time I remember seeing the offense starting on a short field this year, or that it mimicked Justin Herbert’s first career pass as a starter but it felt like the utter dominance of 2016’s defense.
And lastly, regarding the defense: Your weekly reminder that the only thing prevent defense prevents is your team winning. (Or almost, in UW’s case last Saturday.)
Onto the offense, since special teams was super boring minus that one shanked punt, the memory of which I’ve scooped from my hippocampus with a melon baller.
If there’s one thing I learned from Saturday, it was that Myles Gaskin is probably a messiah, if not the. It’s not like he even had some day that was crazy good by his standards, he just had an alright day (by his standards, again) and yet after going through Cal without him... Yeesh. As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you got until its absence makes you look like scrubs against Berkeley.”
Otherwise, while I fight every urge to blame play-calling for offense’s woes since doing so (or the extent to which it is typically done, when it is done) is almost always cliche malarkey that reveals which dude-bro thinks they’re way smarter than they are, the Stanford game was a fun little controlled experiment. I say this since, as far as I can tell, one of the lessons learned came from the first versus second halves where the only real uncontrolled variable (unless you want to include “Stanford halftime adjustments,” but, as Pete says, those are overrated and besides, any big adjustments Stanford made was pretty much all offensive anyway) was the Dawgs’ game plan.
Which, on one hand given the circumstances Saturday, I get.
You’re up by 21; all you have to do is waste time and make sure your defense doesn’t all the sudden forget what a football is and you’re probably good. But also, this is Stanford, who has a buttload of talent and came back from an approximately three thousand point deficit against Oregon in what officials were calling “The pants-shitting of the century” before remembering that “The pants-shitting of the century” was achieved by Texas A&M against UCLA last year, so they had to rename it “The pants-shitting of early autumn.”
But on the other hand. Besides the stress-levels it inflicted upon We the Lowly™, the second half against Stanford was so much more of the Marty Ball and conservatism that we’ve been seeing all year when the first half showed that the offense doesn’t have to be like that.
As far as I can figure, it’s not that said conservatism is the source of the offense’s mediocrity, more that it’s exacerbated the effects of a lack of explosive play-makers.
Although this season’s offense’s issues have been in the red zone, not getting down the field, and also having terrible starting field position from terrible special teams putting the defense in a bad position which is then passed on to the offense, and also first down runs were just as common in the first half as in the second half against Stanford and were just more successfully executed, and also I don’t know anything and am probably wrong anyway, so... Who knows what’s right.
Also — whether it’s to combat that weakness or just for funzies or whatever — the team of Pete and Hamdan getting ballsy on fourth down is flippin’ fun and I will personally fight anyone who disagrees. Although, to be fair, it’d be a whole lot more fun if the offense was consistent enough where going for it on fourth down wasn’t necessary...
My one grip with that, though, is not going for the field goal at the end of the first half; it was the perfect situation: no pressure with the Dawgs being up by so much, thus a good opportunity to get your kicker’s confidence up and, in doing so, making him more reliable for future kicks. Plus, tacking on three points would’ve made it a four score game that would have caused us a heck of a lot less stress at the end of the game because we all knew Stanford was gonna at least kind of come back. At the same time, if he doesn’t make it, then realistically it’s no biggie — and he’s less likely to not make it than the offense was to convert such a low-percentage fourth down/end-of-half play.
Oh, and for those of you who’ve been reading for a couple years, you know I have some... questionable... tendencies. And I’m happy to announce that after that Jake Browning rushing touchdown I’m officially back on my Jake-Browning-Is-A-Bonafide-Dual-Threat-Quarterback bullshit. Come at me.
And one more thing, namely did we just see Hunter Bryant out there or are my bad eyes hallucinating?
Lines of the Week
When we realized we did see Hunter Bryant out there and our eyes weren’t hallucinating:
Malamutes versus trees in the first half:
Aaaand malamutes versus trees in the second half:
Sidenote: I can’t believe how much unjustifiable effort I put into making the stupid above gifs.
Lastly, Greg F. Gaines’ interception means that bestowed upon him is now the highest honor:
Do good things, don’t do bad things, and bow down to Washington.