Redskins

Georgia rally falls short in 32-28 loss to Alabama

201212011408508938349-p2.jpeg

Georgia rally falls short in 32-28 loss to Alabama

ATLANTA (AP) Georgia was one play away the end of a 30-year wait for a shot at another national championship.

Instead of a celebrating a comeback to remember, Aaron Murray and the No. 3 Bulldogs will have to live with coming up 5 yards short.

``It came down to one play to win the SEC championship and play for the national championship,'' Murray said.

Georgia's last-minute rally ended on the Alabama 5-yard line as time expired, giving the No. 2 Crimson Tide a 32-28 win in Saturday's Southeastern Conference championship game.

Alabama (12-1) advances to the national championship game against Notre Dame. Georgia (11-2) was denied its first national championship game since the 1982 season.

Only 1 minute, 8 seconds remained when Georgia took possession at its 15. It seemed to be too much field and too little time.

Still, Murray said the Bulldogs were confident.

``We have run four or five successful one-minute drives this season already,'' he said. ``We did more the ball extremely well, and we had a chance to win it.''

Murray completed four passes, three to tight end Arthur Lynch and one to Tavarres King. The offense remained on the field when an apparent interception by Alabama's Dee Milliner was overturned when video review determined the ball hit the ground.

The last completion, a 26-yarder to Lynch, gave the Bulldogs a first down at Alabama's 8. Murray believed Georgia could run two plays with 15 seconds remaining. He said he sensed Alabama's defense wasn't prepared if he could pull off a quick snap, so instead of spiking the ball the ball to stop the clock, he tried a fade pass intended for Malcolm Mitchell in the back corner of the end zone.

``It's either a catch and a touchdown or it's an incomplete pass and we still have time for a play, to take a quick shot with it,'' Murray said.

Instead, the ball was tipped. George receiver Chris Conley caught the deflection and was tackled at the 5. With no timeouts remaining, Georgia couldn't run another play.

``It probably would have been the greatest comeback in Georgia history,'' Murray said. ``It was exciting, that's for sure.''

Exciting and deflating. Georgia players collapsed on the field. Some remained down on one knee, staring in stunned disbelief, as confetti began to fall on Alabama's celebration.

King called the last play ``insane.''

``It's just something crazy that happens like that,'' King said. ``It's just crazy. A crazy moment.''

Murray had another description.

``It stinks,'' the quarterback said.

Murray completed 18 of 33 passes for 265 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the game that carried the potential to define his career.

Instead, the game belonged to AJ McCarron and the Crimson Tide.

McCarron threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper with 3:15 remaining. McCarron was 12 of 21 for 162 yards with an interception.

Georgia took its last lead at 28-25 on a 10-yard run by Todd Gurley, who had 122 yards rushing with two touchdowns, early in the final quarter.

Gurley couldn't match Alabama's 350 yards rushing. Eddie Lacy had 181 yards with two touchdowns. T.J. Yeldon added 153 yards rushing with a touchdown.

``They've got a great running game and two great running backs,'' said Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree.

Keith Marshall had only three yards on two carries as Georgia's complement to Gurley.

Alabama, which has won two of the last three national championships, now has a chance for another. It will face Notre Dame for the BCS crown on Jan. 7 in Miami.

``I'm ready to have heart attack here,'' Alabama coach Nick Saban said.

Georgia's consolation prize will likely be a spot in the Capital One Bowl, though they certainly looked like a team fully deserving of a BCS bid. Georgia coach Mark Richt said his team had the play it wanted at the end, but Alabama ruined it by getting a hand on the ball.

``I told the guys I was disappointed, but I'm not disappointed in them,'' Richt said. ``They're warriors. We had a chance at the end. We just didn't get it done.''

In a back-and-forth second half that looked nothing like a game in the defensive-minded SEC, the Crimson Tide trailed 21-10 after Ogletree returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs' sideline erupted in jubilation as Georgia appeared to take control of the game.

But Alabama rallied behind a punishing run game and then won it through the air.

With Georgia stacking the line, McCarron fooled the Bulldogs with play action and delivered a perfectly thrown pass to Cooper, who beat Damian Swann in single coverage.

Georgia played like a champion, too.

The Bulldogs punted the ball back to Alabama with 2:25 left, relying on its defense to finally stop the Tide. Georgia used up its final two timeouts, forced a punt and got the ball back at its 15.

The last-minute drive fell short, but Murray said the Bulldogs could be proud of their effort.

``We're a great team,'' Murray said. ``We've worked extremely hard. I feel for our guys.''

---

Follow Charles Odum on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CharlesOdum

Quick Links

Get ready for the NFL Draft, and get ready for plenty of surprises

Get ready for the NFL Draft, and get ready for plenty of surprises

In some circles of modern culture, producing shocking commentary or content seems like the top goal. Being shocking gets clicks, gets attention, and in turn, gets dollars. 

On NFL Draft night, nothing should be shocking. Remember, last season there was no way Jonathan Allen would fall to the Redskins at 17. There was no way Kansas City would trade up for QB Patrick Maholmes. There was no way Chicago would trade up for Mitchell Trubisky. But all those things happened.

Sure, for months draft experts have expounded about what will happen, but the truth is, once the Browns are on the clock, nobody actually knows anything. 

With that in mind, let's look at a bunch of options that should not shock Redskins fans. 

  • Don't be shocked if Washington takes Minkah Fitzpatrick. They want him.
  • Don't be shocked if the Redskins draft Da'Ron Payne over Vita Vea. Washington loves Payne's potential to be a disruptor in the pass game and his incredible strength. 
  • Then again, don't be shocked if the 'Skins take Vita. Plenty of folks like him too. 
  • Don't be shocked if a team makes a move for Louisville QB Lamar Jackson. That could happen after the Redskins pick at 13, but Washington's pick could also prove important in the race for the former Heisman Trophy winner.
  • Derwin James will be on the 'Skins list, but don't be shocked if he goes off the board before the Redskins pick. 
  • Don't be shocked with a trade back, but remember that isn't the goal. With four QBs expected in the Top 10, an elite talent should make it to Washington at 13. If that happens, the Redskins should take advantage of adding a blue chip to their squad. 
  • Don't be shocked if Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds ends up wearing the Redskins draft hat. Also, don't be shocked if he plays some outside linebacker in the Washington 3-4 scheme, not just the inside LB role most project for Edmunds. 
  • Don't be shocked if a seemingly sure thing slips all the way to 13. Perhaps that's Quenton Nelson? Or Denzel Ward? Remember, there was no way Jon Allen was supposed to fall to 17 last year.

There are some things Redskins fans should be shocked by. 

  • Washington should not trade up. 
  • Washington should not draft a running back at 13 unless Saquon Barley is available. He won't be.
  • Washington should not draft a wide receiver at 13. 
  • If one of the top four QBs is available at 13, Washington should vigorously work the phones to move the pick. Move down a few spots and get Payne should be the exact plan in that scenario. Arizona at 15 needs a QB. 

<<<CLICK HERE FOR REDSKINS BEST DRAFT PICKS SINCE 2000>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

Fourth quarter has been an issue for the Wizards in series vs. Raptors

Fourth quarter has been an issue for the Wizards in series vs. Raptors

It was all going so well for the Wizards in Game 5 on Wednesday night until just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. That's when their offense went from good enough to win to bad enough to alter a series and put their 2017-18 season on life support.

The Wizards head back to Washington down 3-2 and have only themselves to blame. From the 4:05 mark in the fourth quarter all the way until 16.2 seconds remining in the game, they did not score a single point. Meanwhile, the Raptors kept rolling and finished that stretch on a 14-5 run. 

The Wizards missed 11 of their final 15 shots. They stopped moving the ball and moving off the ball and even some of their open shots clanged off the backboard or the rim.

It was a stunning display of offensive ineptitude from a team that was above average in scoring during the regular season. 

"We just missed some shots," guard Bradley Beal said. "We feel like we got some good ones, especially down the stretch."

The Wizards managed 20 points in the fourth quarter and 15 came in the first 7:55 of the frame. That would put them on pace for a solid quarter. If they maintained that course, they may have won the game.

Instead, the fourth quarter amounted to a disaster and it cost them dearly. Teams that lose Game 5 to break a 2-2 tie have a 17.2 percent chance of winning the series, based on the league's history.

Otto Porter went scoreless and took one shot in the fourth quarter of Game 5. John Wall had two of his seven turnovers and shot 2-for-6.

"I had two crucial turnovers trying to split screens in the fourth quarter," Wall said. "Just bad reads on my part."

Beal shot 1-for-6 from the field and 1-for-4 from three. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who shot just 40.3 percent from the field during the regular season, took six shots in the fourth quarter, tied for most on the team. He made two of them and missed all three of his threes.

The Wizards had six of their 18 giveaways in the fourth. Though they outrebounded the Raptors 50-35 for the game, they were outdone 15-12 in the frame.

The Wizards' scoreless drought of three minutes and 49 seconds in the fourth quarter was perhaps foreshadowed by some problems with their offense early in the game. There were plenty of stretches characterized by bad shots, turnovers and a lack of passing.

The Wizards' 21 assists in Game 5 were their fewest in the playoffs so far.

"We need more ball movement," Beal said. "We need more player movement. We were way too stagnant."

The fourth quarter has been an issue all series. Only once, in Game 2, did they outscore the Raptors in the final frame. 

The Wizards rank 14th out of 16 playoff teams in fourth quarter points (23.4/g) and dead-last with a 40.4 field goal percentage and 28.1 three point percentage.

This is a bit of a carryover from the regular season. Only five teams shot worse than the Wizards in the fourth quarter (43.7%) and only five teams allowed more points (26.5) to their opponents.

Washington has had issues closing games all year and throughout this series. Wednesday night was an extreme example and it has them just one loss away from elimination.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE FROM WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

WIZARDS COLLAPSE LATE IN GAME 5, OTTO LOOKS BANGED UP

WIZARDS HAVE TO FIGURE OUT DEROZAN AFTER GAME 5

WALL IS BOYCOTTING DRAKE'S MUSIC DURING SERIES