Welcome once again to the column where I take those pesky notes I jotted down during the game (notes like “hi Aaron Fuller run straight on that punt return next time thx bb” and “what drugs is bbk on and can i have some?”) and attempt to turn them into coherent thoughts.
Obviously the key word there is “attempt.” And with that, here we go:
A 68% Sober and 100% Accurate Rundown of Everything
This was a great game because we learned so much about football. Namely, I didn’t realize it’s permissible to put PCP in your pregame Gatorade. But, per Ben Burr-Kirven’s jacked up performance, it most certainly is. Seriously, that was the play of someone who could definitely take down an entire SWAT team. Throw in a K9 unit while you’re at it, see if he cares.
Pretty much, slightly-higher-than-average opponents’ 3rd down conversion rate notwithstanding, this defense continues in 2018 to be pretty much exactly what we knew, loved, and expected — although I’m anxious to see what happens against more surgical quarterbacks since, up until this point, Jarrett Stidham has been the only reliable quarterback they’ve faced. (Although they did alright against him, so... )
Otherwise, on the defensive side of things, if you’re worried about how “successfully” ASU ran the ball against Washington, here’s our step-by-step process for curing those blues:
Step 1) Don’t be.
Step 2) That’s it.
While the Sun Devils looked good running the ball if you just had the game on in the background, they mostly looked good running the ball because they ran it like they had a fever, and the only cure was
more cowbell running the ball. In actuality, Eno Benjamin averaged 4.0 yards per carry and, while 62% of ASU’s yards came via rushing, that’s 62% out of only 268 total yards.
Their other leading rusher, Trelon Smith, looks much more imposing on the box score with an average of 5.6 YPC, that is until you realize that number’s skewed more than a roadkill possum, due to his lone 19 yard run ballooning the data because of his small sample size, as Smith had only eight carries. Once you take away that monster play, the Huskies only allowed 3.25 YPC at his hands.
Oh, and when you factor in that Washington’s priorities were — rightfully so — shutting down N’Keal Harry and the passing game, which they held to only 104 yards, being a bit more lenient on the run doesn’t sound so bad.
If your squad holds an air game led by the likely first receiver taken in the 2019 draft to only four more yards than my great-grandma was years old, I think you get a free pass.
Sorry if you already thought these things (I assume you did, as I’m not providing anything particularly insightful here), but they stem from my dad, during the game, going “Gee why can’t we stop the run” and I was like “Bitch we’re not doing bad, they just keep running it” and he was like “It doesn’t look like it” and then I was like “Girl please” and then proceeded to give this ol’ spiel, and now, for posterity and just in case anyone else was feeling the feelings my padre was feeling, decided to type it up just in case.
Alright, moving on to the offense.
Let’s see... The run game showed some of its old self although Gaskin took some poor reads but I’m not gonna get into that because it’s coming your guys’ way in Brad’s film study piece, “Where’s Salvon?” is a thing we’re all thinking, Nick Harris has dance moves... What else?
Oh, right, let’s give it up for the offensive line finally not crapping the bed like a New Orleans levee.
Speaking of, the pure disparity between Jake Browning with a bad line versus Jake Browning with a good line would be hilarious, were it not so stressful. Sure, everybody plays better with an actual real-life pocket, but Jake turns that up to eleven. His poise, footwork, anticipation, etc. when he trusts his line is among the best in the country — but when he doesn’t trust them, like in the first few weeks... Well, we’ve had that discussion before and all agree it’s not a great final product. And, honestly, I’m tired of talking about Browning so, as the author of this, I can just... Change the topic:
To the fact that, as the president of The Under Center Fan Club, Inc., I hereby decree we all take this moment to give a light, golf-clap round of applause to celebrate that more snaps were taken under center. My logic for loving under center snaps is two-fold: A) Play-action with Browning and Gaskin is the jam and B) Completely irrational emotional attachment based on reason (A). Reason (B) is also why there may or may not be but most certainly is a cult based on worshiping Ryan Fitzpatrick and ocelots formed in Vancouver in 2016. Don’t worry about it, it’s cool and not weird.
For real though, if I were the purveyor of fine continental breakfasts at a quaint B&B, the menu would just be “PLAY-ACTION AND PLAY-ACTION ALONE with a side of poppy seed muffin.” But I am not, so it is not. Similarly, the reason I’m not an offensive coordinator — besides being so-called “in no way qualified” and “a probable idiot” — is because there would only be three plays: Halfback dive, halfback dive but in the other direction, and motherf*^&in’ play-action fly-route. And still, I’d be a better OC than Noel Mazzone.
While we’re on the topic, you too can join The Under Center Fan Club, Inc. for three easy payments of $9.99 to Paypal.me/gabeynotgabby. Membership includes this T-shirt I found in a dumpster on Montlake Blvd that says “Dysentery is an Oregon thing,” plus a “Shotgun can suck it” bumper sticker.
And now for the last dumb thought in this big ol’ dumb jumble of my dumb thoughts:
First, hearken back, many moons ago, to when you were taught the English language and how to use the word “hearken” correctly. Then, remember back slightly less moons ago to when Husky fans were caught between pure terror and cautious optimism for the passing game.
I say this solely to focus on Ty Jones and, hypothetically, the emergence of Cade Otton. In the latter’s case, he actually would have had a pretty easy touchdown instead of that Doug Baldwin-esque toe-tap, had Jake thrown the pass earlier. But I digress.
Frankly, this is new territory for Washington fans since Chris Petersen has been here: Having multiple big targets who can do more than just bowl guys over a la Will Dissly and Drew Sample. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer that there’s nothing more entertaining in football than watching, like, seven miniature DBs try to tackle Dissly, but Jones as a WR and Otton’s skillset as a TE bring an element to Washington’s utilization of big guys that goes beyond “go all Panzer tank on their asses.”
Jones obviously is the more concrete contributor at the moment and has shown he can consistently provide the catch radius, route-running, athleticism, and strong hands that fans always waited in vain for in a player like Brayden Lenius. But with Petersen’s rightful love of TEs and Otton’s high ceiling as a pass-catching one — plus him showing Saturday that he’s maybe gonna contribute more and sooner than we anticipated — it wouldn’t shock me to see him as a pillar of this offense in the coming years.
Mostly, though, the potential mega-mismatch between these two and opposing secondary players is more beautiful than Ryan Fitzpatrick’s beard.
Lines of the Week
It’s a light content week here, but here’s your lines of the week.
First, let’s check up on BBK giving himself a good old-fashioned pregame pep talk:
And now we get a look at the secondary shutting down N’Keal Harry:
Do good things, don’t do bad things, and bow down to Washington.