On ESPN3 you could sense how excited the players were to win. Based on in-person reports, the joy lasted well after the game and everyone felt like they won the Super Bowl. I felt glad for the players. Football can be an especially long season when things are not going well. Looking back you could see how much better the play was, yet we nearly blew it. I hope that if we continue to play better, we don't let mistakes lead to blown leads and lost wins. I hope the momentum from this carries over in everyone's effort and confidence.
Rettig pulled it out in the end, but I still don't feel like he is as sharp as he was in the beginning of the year. I feel like he is forcing things or waiting too long for something to happen. His instincts -- once one of his strengths -- seem off. For example there were plenty of times when he could have tucked and run the ball on Saturday. He's not a runner, but it would have been positive yards and kept Maryland honest. Instead he waits and waits and waits and looks for the big play. It is not always there. He missed some open guys and his fundamentals slipped a little. He was lucky he wasn't intercepted.
Andre Williams' fumble was brutal. The miscue came early, but even then if felt big. Williams also didn't do much running the ball (although the holes weren't there). I do like how Williams has improved at pass blocking. He threw his body around to get in the way of blitzers and often chucked one guy and then came across the pocket to chip another. Dudeck had a great TD catch. His pass blocking was not as good.
Huge day for Amidon. He was solid throughout and didn't have any drops. He also had some nice runs. Coleman was good. His footwork on his first catch was really nice. Glad to have Pantale back and making an impact. Swigert layed out for a big throw but couldn't pull it in. Elliott and Evans each had a catch but weren't thrown to much.
The offensive line provided decent pass protection early and then late for Rettig. When they had more breakdowns, everything stalled out.The run blocking was not that good. White allowed a sack and so did Cleary. Gallik had an exchange screw up that led to a wasted drive. Vardaro was okay. Wetzel was pretty good.
I didn't love Martin's play calling. I don't know what's going on, but the rhythm he and Rettig had early on this year seems to be off. Our first two drives were great, but then we struggled to find a string of good plays until late in the game The third down stats were putrid and I felt like too often we were looking for big plays instead of just ones that would keep the chains moving. If the run game isn't working I wish we would try more short passing.
Edebali had a nice game. He doesn't make big plays, but he also doesn't make many mistakes and hustles like few on the team. Borcich's INT was a nice play for a big guy. Now we just need him to make more plays when he's not dropping back. Wujciack was made some nice plays. Murray and Appiah were quiet. Mihalik got on the field in the second half but didn't make a huge impact. Moore was okay. As a group the DLine played better, but still didn't dominate the line of scrimmage. There is room for improvement.
I thought Clancy was just ok. He had a few tackles but was not great in pass coverage. Maryland went at Divitto through the air early. When we replaced him with Joy, things were better. I like Joy's aggresiveness and he covered a lot of ground. KPL made some big plays early, but he also missed a few -- especially his near sack on the blitz.
Noel wasn't tested much through the air, but helped out in the run game. I thought it was his best game in a few weeks. Sylvia was picked on and did okay. His tackling was good. I thought Simmons played well. Asprilla wasn't near the action much. Rositano was ok.
To McGovern's credit we did mix things up. Our coverage and who was responsible for which zone was often disguised and kept Rowe offbalance. But how could we not blitz more? Why not try something against really raw QB? I also think our adjustments on Diggs were poor. Maryland put him in the slot often and left us exposed covering him with a LB. And we really didn't do much to counter. A better Offensive Coordinator/QB combo would have burned us more with that mismatch.
Special Teams: B
Spiffy set the tone early with his aggressive and smart returns. I like that he ran straight ahead and dodged some tackles.
Levano had another uneven day. The worst part about it, is there doesn't seem to be any reason to it. I like that they tried the rugby style to perhaps reset his punting "yips." Freese was solid.
Our kick coverage was pretty good. So was our punt coverage. When you consider we contained Diggs in this aspect of the game, it was a positive.
Admit it. When we blew the lead in the 4th, you didn't think we would win. I know I didn't. And that is not New England cynicism or being a pessimistic BC fan. It is about Spaz's history of mismanaging games. I also worried about Rettig. At that point in the game, he seemed lost and incapable of leading a long drive. But I was wrong and the team showed some resiliency and focus. It is that type of resiliency that has me hoping for a strong finish.
I don't feel like coaching won this game nor did anything to screw it up. But even that neutral impact is an improvement. I think this team has underachieved and maybe only now played up to some if its potential. If we want to build on this it we will need Spaz to keep the players focused and give the team winning gameplans. It can be done. That last drive proved it.