Grade Report and Second Viewing Thoughts: Navy
While it wasn’t pretty it was still a win. I’ll be honest, if not for a miracle fumble, we would have lost this game and all the grades I am about give would probably be at least two half-grades lower. Winning just makes everything seem better. Plus it was the last game of the year, so I am feeling generous. The coaches deserve credit for keeping the team focused and winning, but as far as strategy they really mailed it in for this game. Spaz is probably hanging around, so let’s hope things improve the next time we face a misdirection offense.
I would say that was Matt Ryan’s weakest performance of the year. He was pressing most of the game -- running when he should have waited, passing when he had running lanes, etc. His long bomb to Gunnel was off. Both INTs were bad decisions. I know on replay that it looked that the Umpire shielded the Navy LB, but Matt really should have seen him crossing over and sitting in his zone. But the kid is a gamer and still got us into scoring position when it counted. I can overlook an off day when we win and he carried this team all year.
LV went down early but looked really bad when he was in. In the first series alone, he dropped a catchable ball, made a bad cut/read on second down and then whiffed on a blitzing DB on third down. Callender ran hard but wasn’t explosive. However, I was encouraged with his reads and cuts. If we do implement the Jags/Gibbs strict zone blocking, I think AC will adapt well. Palmer had one of his better games of the season and served as a nice outlet for Ryan.
I am really glad we are getting a new line coach. I would say Horton’s work has been most disappointing this year and Saturday was just another example. We played rotating Centers again, yet Sheridan was in when it mattered (even though he had been blown over by much smaller Navy defenders at two different times). Poles still looks slow adjusting when no one comes right at him. How can he still be hesitant on his areas of responsibility in pass protection? Fortunately in the second half the unit locked in. Good game from Marten. Good game from Beekman. Great game from Cherilus. Cherilus had a great year. The only thing holding him back was stupid penalties.
The Receivers and Tight Ends had good but unspectacular games. Purvis TD was a nice catch. Challenger’s catch and run before the half was a great hustle play, but he was lucky he left time on the clock. Gonzo had a nice season, but it was a killer to drop the 2-point conversion.
The play calling was bad. Real bad. I have defended Dana Bible more than most, but this game was a real problem. Navy gave us a lot of different looks, but we did nothing to force them out of their zones or stretch the field. Also, our stubbornness with running wasted time in a game where possessions were very important. The two crimes against BC fans were the two minute drills before the half and at the end of the game. First look at the drive before the half. He calls a running play early. No problem with that. However, I do have a problem with not calling a time out when the play falls short of the first down. It cost us 14 seconds and led to a FG instead of a TD. The closing drive was equally bad. The pass to the flat was okay because at least it is near the sideline. The pass to Thompson was good for a first down so that is okay, but I have real problems with two runs from the 20. Please take at least one shot at the end zone. Especially with a walk-on with limited range taking the kicks. It seemed like Dana was indifferent to us winning this game. Terrible way to go out.
The Defensive line played well. They gut burned by the belly to the FB twice, but overall did a good job clogging the middle. Albright’s late sack on third down was huge. Giles had some big plays. Larkin was key to forcing the late fumble and Brace and Raji played well.
Dunbar had a great game. His fellow LBs did not. Pruitt did not get the feel for the option until late in the game. Toal was under the weather. Francois barely involved. Herzy missed a key open-field tackle. Because they rarely passed, Akins had to play inside and got pushed around. Fortunately Dunbar cleaned up a lot of mistakes.
The corners played well. By design Navy took them away from the action for much of the game. When he was near the action, Tribble had some huge hits and a key deflection. Anam playing the opposite side of the field really saved two TDs. Twice a Navy carrier broke free only to be chased down by Larry. Huge plays. Why was Anam saving our ass? Because the Safeties had a rough day. Both passing TDs were on them and should have been stopped. Their tackling was so so.
Spaz called an okay game. Nothing new, just played them straight up. We struggled the first half, but recovered in the second half. Not as bad as Bible's prep, but not his best day.
Special Teams: B
Missing the PAT was bad, but Aponavicius more than made up for it. While his kickoffs were not bombs, they were improved.
The punting continued to be solid, as were the gunners.
Tribble had a good day on the returns.
The kick returns were good, but I was furious that they weren’t ready for the onside. We’re lucky Navy did not recover.
This was a maddening game that BC was lucky to win. But a win is a win and the guys deserve credit for rallying. Now that the streak is BC’s and not TOB’s, I want to see it go on, so this win was crucial. The next game I grade will be Jags' first and I look forward to every minute of it.