What a great word. Hard to imagine why it hasn’t found greater acceptance in the lexicon.
But no matter. When it fits, nothing fits better. What better noun to describe the quality of being mentally slow and limited?
And make no bones about it, this edition of the Georgia Bulldogs leads the nation in dumbness. In fact, this team might be Georgia’s all-time leader in dumbness.
That makes Georgia’s 9-2 record rather remarkable, incredible really. It stands as a testimonial to the vast array of talent assembled in Athens by coach Mark Richt. Only a supremely talented group could overcome the Dogs myriad mistakes.
Facing the two teams that have emerged as the cream of the SEC crop, the Dogs fell short. First half mistakes against Alabama created a mountain too steep to surmount. Against Florida, first half mistakes kept the Dogs from leading at the half; second half errors created an onslaught.
Insanely stupid mistakes kept games against LSU and Kentucky close, and kept the Dogs from early closeouts of Vanderbilt and Tennessee.
So, in many ways, Saturday’s contest against Auburn was a microcosm of the season. The Dogs played an opponent with an inferior record, and managed to keep them in the game until the final second. Just another day at the office for the team that treats dumbness as a virtue.
On their opening drive, against an opponent that hadn’t surrendered an early touchdown all season, Georgia drove 80 yards in eight plays. Knowshon Moreno carried five times for 44 yards on the drive.
His two shortest runs — both four yards — had come on Georgia’s last two plays, from the Auburn 11 and 7 yard lines. So, you’d think the logical thing to do would be to give him the ball again.
Think again. The incredibly ludicrous call was the feckless fade route pass, which should be deleted from the playbook without further ado.
Predictably, suddenly clueless kicker Blair Walsh never got his field goal attempt more than five feet off the ground.
Poor fielding of Auburn’s ensuing punt put Georgia in play at their own six yard line. Still, the Dogs fashioned a nice drive into Auburn territory — until Mo Massaquoi committed the rare offensive pass interference.
Auburn’s next series ended with the culmination of Georgia’s season of dumbness. On fourth and 10 from the Auburn 6, Georgia tried to block the punt, and wound up roughing Clinton Durst.
But the Dogs escaped the personal foul penalty when, half a field away, Prince Miller proved incapable of fielding the punt. Seconds later, the Dogs proved incapable of tackling Mario Fannin as he sped through the Georgia secondary into the end zone. In keeping with the proceedings, Auburn bollixed up the extra point attempt.
Seeking to turn the momentum, Georgia immediately ran the high-percentage long pass to A.J. Green. Incomplete. Three and out.
Auburn sought to return the three and out favor, but Reshad Jones applied a late hit, out of bounds, on third down, extending the drive and earning some bench time. Georgia missed three tackles on the next play, then jumped offside. And then allowed a 12 yard screen pass on 3rd and 10.
In keeping with the carnival atmosphere, Auburn drove to Georgia’s 24, where Kodi Burns lost 12 yards and fumbled to Georgia’s Geno Atkins.
Unable to capitalize, Georgia went three and out, with quarterback Matthew Stafford missing Massaquoi on a sure touchdown.
After Georgia finally managed to execute a screen pass of its own on its next series, Moreno scoring from 35 yards out, it was back to the hijinks. Richard Samuel committed a personal foul on the kickoff. On Auburn’s second play, Jeremy Lomax added a face mask penalty.
Clearly caught up in the surrounding ineptitude, Auburn’s Wes Byrum missed a field goal as the first half mercifully ended. Georgia led, 7-6, having overcome enough mistakes to fill a column.
But there were more to come. Clint Boling derailed Georgia’s initial drive with a false start. The second unraveled when Stafford threw poorly in the flat to Shaun Chapas, and then Green and Kris Durham decided to run the same pass route on the same play.
Then the defense allowed Auburn to convert a fourth-and-1 from its own 19, and the Tigers were off on a 90 yard touchdown drive.
After Georgia immediately answered with a touchdown drive of its own, young Mr. Walsh chose to boot his kickoff out of bounds, giving Auburn the field position it needed to pressure the Dogs right down to the final second.
Whew. Hard to imagine a team that’s already played 10 games still making so many mistakes. Equally hard to imagine that this was the nation’s top rated team three months ago.
But that was before dumbness intervened.