Bennett is probably not quite as good as his numbers (10.1 yards per attempt, 27 TD, 7 INT) indicate, and we saw why when Georgia met Alabama—their first top-15 opponent of the season by the most recent rankings. Like any quarterback, Bennett isn’t as good under pressure (7.9 yards per attempt, 4 TD, 3 INT), and the Tide produced a little more of that than usual (28.3% of dropbacks to Georgia’s season average of 25.0%).
But what proved to be the Bulldogs’ undoing on offense wasn’t the Alabama front seven; it was the secondary. On non-screen pass attempts, Bennett was downright impressive this season, averaging 10.4 yards per attempt with 22 TD and 7 INT. PFF graded him better on those plays than on screen passes, and his non-screen numbers are surprisingly close to Heisman Trophy finalists CJ Stroud (10.1 yards per attempt, 41 TD, 6 INT) and Kenny Pickett (9.1 yards per attempt, 36 TD, 6 INT). But Alabama tore Bennett apart on these more difficult attempts: he went 20 for 41 for 263 yards, 6.6 yards per attempt, one touchdown, and two interceptions. It was surprising stuff from a pass defense that had, to that point, not really looked all that great: Alabama’s secondary ranks 13th in EPA per pass, 47th in success rate, and 46th in havoc rate. All of those figures have soared recently as a result of overpowering both Bennett and Desmond Ridder (17 for 32, 144 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT) in their last two games.
How much of that do we chalk up to general improvement on the part of Alabama and how much to making the Georgia offense one-dimensional after the offensive onslaught that put the Dawgs in a two-touchdown hole from which they never recovered?