In a night full of perplexing play calls, perhaps the most perplexing – well, except for that bizarre option run play Mizzou ran in its last possession – was the third-quarter decision to throw a bubble screen pass on first-and-goal on the Missouri five. For context, consider the four plays Georgia ran before that call:
2nd and 2 at MIZ 23
(3:27 – 3rd) Greyson Lambert pass complete to Malcolm Mitchell for a loss of 2 yards to the Misso 25
3rd and 4 at MIZ 25
(3:05 – 3rd) Brendan Douglas run for 4 yds to the Misso 21 for a 1ST down
1st and 10 at MIZ 21
(2:30 – 3rd) Brendan Douglas run for 8 yds to the Misso 13
2nd and 2 at MIZ 13
(2:15 – 3rd) Brendan Douglas run for 8 yds to the Misso 5 for a 1ST down
It was one of the rare times during the game when Georgia’s offensive line was getting a consistent push against Missouri’s front and Brendan Douglas was pounding with a set of fresh legs. And that same pass play had been blown up by the Tigers earlier in the drive because Terry Godwin, who had a great game otherwise, couldn’t block his defender.
And, yet, there it was. Lather, rinse, repeat in all its glory. Richt analyzes the call:
“We’ve got a run-pass option and we rip it out there (from Lambert to Mitchell) and end up losing five yards. I mean that’s sickening. There’s times we’ve just got to call the run and run the run. We’ve got to make sure, we do have the ability to do that. Sometimes as a play-caller, you’re like surely he won’t throw it out there and bam there it is and you lose five yards and it’s second-and-goal from the 10. That puts you in a third down and (seven). Now instead of hammering the ball in for seven, you’re taking the risk of throwing the ball down in that red area where there’s not a lot of space.”
That’s a two-sided criticism there. Richt is chiding his quarterback for being greedy there, a mindset that was on display at other times in the game, as even Lambert admitted. It looked like Lambert got baited into a throw on that play by a safety who waited until late to move over to that area in coverage. But it’s also a knock against Lambert’s coordinator, who shouldn’t have even given Lambert the option to throw there in the first place.
Both criticisms are fair. But Schottenheimer’s being paid a shitload more money to avoid making dumb decisions like that.