Comeback effort too little, too late as M falls to University of Oregon Ducks
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN SEPTEMBER 21, 2003 Ann Arbor News writers Jim Carty and Antoine Pitts differed when describing Michigan’s final offensive play. Carty wrote that the last play was “one last drop by [M receiver Braylon] Edwards”. Pitts said the drive ended when “quarterback John Navarre’s pass to Braylon Edwards sailed high.”
This sums up a common debate over the past few years. Is John Navarre throwing bad passes, or are Michigan’s talented receivers not making catches? This debate certainly was a good one on Saturday, as there were several bad throws, several missed catches and some in between.
The bottom line is that this team is not as good as everyone hoped after last week, and certainly is not good enough to get away with bad execution, whether it be drops or sailing passes. As complete as the team domination last week of Notre Dame was, this was as equivalent in terms of a total team collapse. Every facet of Michigan’s game could be criticized.
Is the hope of a national title over? Probably but not completely. Losing early like this gives Michigan a chance to rebound. But as I told the Mudbowl on Sunday morning, I more concerned about Michigan’s ability to win the rest of their games, then the fact that they have one loss. Playing like they did on Saturday could mean a good three or four more losses before they are done. The late effort to steal the game aside, Michigan looked awful.
A couple of observations from a Sunday morning bitterman:
– Memo to ABC, it’s time to ask Keith Jackson to step aside. He struggled all day. For example, he thought Michigan’s botched punt fake (where the snap dinged off the up-man’s helmet) was simply a bad snap to the punter. Although it was a bad fake, it was clearly a fake. And after Michigan’s last play fell incomplete, he declared that Michigan now faced a “fourth down”. At least he didn’t say Michigan faced a fifth down or questioned Lloyd Carr’s decision to march his defense onto the field when it was still fourth down!
– I guess the only bright spot for Michigan for the play of Steven Breaston and Jason Avant . They each made some really nice catches down the stretch.
– Pitts, pinch hitting for normal columnist Jim Cnockaert, presented the following grades in his postgame Report card in the Ann Arbor News:
Special Teams: F
Overall a C? I wish I had Prof. Pitts when I was in school. How do you get an overall C after tallying up the other “grades”. I guess Pitts put a big emphasis on that coaching C+?! Come on man.
One more observation – I thought Joey Harrington played for the Lions. Apparently he came back for one more game for the Oregon Ducks. Those quarterbacks looked incredible.