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We’re gonna look at all of the graphs for this one again, especially given how close and wacky the game was. After mediocre play and bad break after bad break, The Tide defense pulled this one off at the last second on their own 2 yard line. And yet, the stats look like a modest (but solid) win from a mediocre offense.
Team Success Rates over time (cumulative)
I actually thought we’d see a better split here for the Tide offense vs. the Aggies: while QB Jalen Milroe and co. weren’t looking particularly good, they were moving the ball quite well at times and were much less reliant on boom-or-bust breaks than Texas A&M was. I thought our averages would spell out better even though we got a bunch of bad breaks that kept this game close.
And my guess was ... kinda right? The Tide’s +8 point gap in efficiency (40% Success Rate vs. the Aggie offenses’ 32%) is at least notable: one is a near-average league performance, and the other is a poor game. So we didn’t see the big win we were hoping for — either in the stats or on the scoreboard — but the more efficient offense did indeed win. Barely.
Play Map: Yards and Result by Play
The Tide also held the explosiveness advantage for much of the game, mostly due to long runs, but the Aggies had just enough big catches to catch up in the end:
On the Aggie end of this chart, things were pretty tame through the first 3.5 quarters. Texas A&M QB Haynes King landed a few catches to keep things occasionally interesting, but they were mostly getting stuffed and were mailing in a pretty low success rate. But then that last quarter and a half happened, with the long bombs (at, at times, miracle catches), that would completely turn around otherwise-terrible drives.
On the Alabama side of the chart: it’s a weird thing to see 4 explosive rushes to only 3 explosive passes. I guess that’s a Gibbs-and-Milroe-led offense for you. These explosive plays were all 25+ yards, but were oddly concentrated and never passed 37 yards. Really, it’s against trend for this season to see the maximum gain across teams be only 43 yards (especially after the Tide delivered 3 70+ yard ones in a quarter or so alone last week).
Success and Explosiveness by Quarter
The quarters chart reads similarly to the overall: the Tide was more efficient across basically the entire game, and was more explosive in the first half, but the Aggie offense landed some catches — including some pretty crazy ones, to my eyes — late to drive up their XRs in the 3rd and 4th quarters.
SR, XR, and Play Count by Drive
The Tide mailed in a handful of 0% SR drives, which is not a good look. Otherwise, a bunch of short-ish drives with middling efficiencies, with some long late drives (but not scoring drives, mind you) with more respectable efficiencies.
Success and Explosiveness in the Red Zone
Speaking of respectable drives that somehow don’t score: this is one of the charts of the game. In a stark departure from our recent trends — Bama tends to do better or as well in the Red Zone these days — this was a terrible Red Zone game. The Aggies didn’t do much down there either (and the Tide defense has been good at defending the RZ this season), but they were certainly more efficient down there than Alabama’s offense).
Success and Explosiveness by Down
And here’s another hint at how things went. Texas A&M’s offense didn’t do much to inspire on any down (except 1-for-2 on 4th), but the Tide also didn’t do it’s usual 3rd down leap that we’re getting used to lately. At this point I have to assume that the 3rd down magic is more about Bryce Young than Bill O’Brien.
Success and Explosiveness by Distance to go
At first I didn’t see much in this chart: both offenses were mediocre and track together in their efficiencies at different distances to go. But ... there actually is a particularly frustrating tidbit on the right end of the chart: Texas A&M didn’t accrue a single explosive play that wasn’t from at least 10 yards out. Sure, a most of those were on 1st downs, and a few on 2nd, but none of these were the “explosive play on a risky (but clever) short yardage call” types. It was all just bombs or scrambles from distance.
Success and Explosiveness by Play Type
And, well, this chart looks a lot like the other breakdowns: neither offense was great, but on average the Tide was “notably less bad.” But this gets us into our #RTDB charts! Jamyhr Gibbs and company were running the ball with greater efficiency than we could pass it, which isn’t a surprise given the talent and experience gap there while Bryce Young is out.
Rushing and Passing Success (cumulative)
Breaking that down further, the rushing and passing attacks tracked together in terms of efficiency for most of the game. But the rushing game pulled away a bit in the 2nd half, when it looked like the Tide was getting back on track. I’m actually surprised we didn’t see more of a bump there, given how well those drives were going on the ground (before they’d get snuffed out by turnovers, weirdness, and/or missed FGs).
Rushing rate (cumulative)
And, wouldn’t ya know it, we chose to run the ball more than pass it! For the 2nd week in a row, we turned in a consistently high rush rate after tending towards the pass for basically all of the Bryce Young era so far. That shouldn’t be a surprise given the hand we were dealt with the QB situation. Except, Texas A&M was also on a backup QB but chose to pass the ball a lot. I suppose you can chalk that up to the relative skillsets of the backs.
Jahmyr Gibbs didn’t turn in the most efficient performance I’ve seen, but he beat 50% and made something out of nothing several times; furthermore, he made a lot out of routine plays several times too. He’s awesome, so he gets the article feature for the 2nd week running (and for the 3rd time so far this season).
Jalen Milroe did try to run in this gameplan, but with more attempts came less efficiency. He did deliver an explosive rush, but otherwise had just a 38% SR.
It’s not always on the RB, but Jase McClellan had a poor game statistically, with a poor efficiency, no explosive rushes, and a fumble, to boot. Hopefully we’ll see him perform back up to his early season promise — both rushing and catching — in our upcoming games.
At least the Tide defense did a nice job bottling up Aggie RB Devon Achane this year. He delivered one explosive rush, but otherwise was pretty inefficient. Haynes King got one explosive scramble off, but otherwise wasn’t effective as a rusher.
Haynes King, was, however, the most effective passer on the day. And that isn’t to say he was efficient: this is a pretty poor passing line that’s capped off by an interception. But Jalen Milroe’s was similar, but on many fewer attempts. After the last few quarterbacks we’ve gotten spoiled with here at Alabama, it’s very strange seeing this comparative passers chart, with the Tide QB being the one with limited opportunities and just a few handfuls of successful passes on the day. Here’s to hoping that Bryce is back soon.
And I’m ending on ... the most depressing chart, to my eyes. Milroe only delivered successful catches to four catchers (including Jahmyr Gibbs), while Haynes King and the Aggies had seven successful catchers. You hope to (and, around here, you usually do) see this trend flipped. At least Ja’Corey Brooks made the most of limited opportunities, with two explosive catches representing something of a bounce-back game for him.
Look, we barely got the win, so at least this article isn’t me griping about how “the Tide was more efficient but got burned by oddities and big moments.” Because I’ve written that article before, and this was really, really close to being one. So it was a slog to get through, but I’ll happily exchange a “Roll Tide” for this win and move on.