Heading into Saturday’s game, Georgia junior quarterback Greyson Lambert had completed 33 of his previous 35 passes with nearly 500 yards and five touchdowns.
He had done just about as much as a quarterback can do to separate himself from the 0-for-7 start he had against Vanderbilt that had some questioning his ability to lead the Bulldogs.
What a difference one week makes.
Lambert’s 10-for-24 performance for 83 yards in Saturday’s 38-10 loss to No. 13 Alabama was his worst performance by both completion percentage and yards as a starting quarterback. To top it off, Lambert had two passes tipped at the line of scrimmage, had the ball slip out of his hands twice on pass attempts for fumbles -- one of which he lost -- and threw an interception late in the game against Alabama’s second-team defense.
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“Just got to keep playing ball, sometimes,” Lambert said. “Football is like that. Sometimes it’s your day, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you’ve got to battle through all that stuff and overcome it. It just wasn’t our day.”
He had a 1-for-11 stretch before Alabama inserted its second-teamers in the fourth quarter, and all but 21 of his yards came on two passes: a 36-yard pass to Malcolm Mitchell in the first quarter and a 26-yarder to Terry Godwin. Both of those plays were on the same drive.
“It’s hard to (grade myself) without watching the film, but there were definitely some throws, two of them to Malcolm, the first play, and then there was one on about a 15-yard stop route where it kind of skidded by, both of them were definitely me,” Lambert said. “There were some others I wish I had back. I definitely didn’t play well enough, and that’s really all that matters.”
The tone of the passing game was set on that first play when Lambert underthrew Mitchell, who went uncovered on the Georgia sideline. The play likely would’ve gone for a touchdown. Instead, Georgia went three-and-out.
“We had a double move called,” Mitchell said. “Just didn’t execute it the way we planned.”
“I underthrew Malcolm,” Lambert said. “I just underthrew him.”
To be fair, the problems weren’t all on Lambert. Outside of the missed opportunity to Mitchell, the receivers didn’t get a lot of separation all afternoon.
Georgia players and coaches credited that to the Alabama defense.
“They’ve got good cover people, they match up routes really well,” Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. “That’s football. You’ve got to be able to throw the ball into tight coverage. Put it in a spot we can get it, and they can’t.”
Even without Lambert behind the helm, the passing game struggled to get anything going.
At the end of the first half, Georgia coaches opted to make the change to Brice Ramsey, who then came out to start the second half.
“We just weren’t moving the ball well, we weren’t making plays,” Richt said. “There was a string of a few that, we had a few in a row that we weren’t completing. We’ve always thought about having Brice come in the game in the first half anyway. So at that point we thought was a good time to do it, see if we could get a good spark.”
Ramsey performed no better, going 1-for-6 for 20 yards and two interceptions before being taken out in favor of Lambert’s return.
Although Ramsey didn’t play well, for the first time all season, Richt didn’t sound committed to Lambert beyond this week, meaning Lambert’s worst performance could be his last.
“We were just trying to find some answers, trying to find some spark,” Richt said. “I would say we’re just going to have to re-evaluate everything, the quarterback play, everything.”