I hate football. No really, I mean it this time. How in the hell do you score 52 points, compile more than 500 yards of total offense, and still lose a football game to a I-AA team?
I'm sick of playing this game where we talk up the other team, continuing to laud the opposition like masters of diplomacy. Delaware might be a good team, but to give up 59 points to them is simply ridiculous. I mean c'mon, even Division II West Chester held the Blue Hens to "only" 41 points. No, I'm not going to play that game, I refuse to acknowledge the fact that Delaware is that good.
Navy's defense is beyond bad. In fact, it's beyond horrible. I mean, with less than 50 seconds left to go in the first half, the defense surrendered a mind boggling 74 yards and a touchdown to a Delaware offense with no timeouts left. Nate Frazier, true to form, made an incredibly idiotic mistake on an offsides penalty that stopped the clock and allowed Delaware to set up for a touchdown on the very next play, as the Midshipmen surrendered whatever advantage they had going into the half. I think surrender is an appropriate word to use, because when you look at this game and others, Navy's defense has allowed the opposition to dictate the game and move as they please. I don't even know why we blitz really, as every blitz seems to be picked up with ease. Speaking of blitzing, can we please stop blitzing Ram Vela on the outside on every other play. It's an easy read for the quarterback and an easier block for the tackle, and all it's doing is giving the opposition and easy throw and catch.
Despite the incredibly poor play of the defense par usual, the turning point in this game was not the touchdown allowed right before the half, but rather Kaipo-Noa's misguided pitch on Navy's third drive of the game. Consider the fact that the Midshipmen were up 14-7 at the time, and the defense, amazingly, had just stopped Delaware's offense for a second consecutive series. With an offense that scores on nearly every series, Navy had a very good shot at taking a two possession lead against the Blue Hens, and perhaps even more importantly had a shot to give their beleaguered defense some confidence and momentum heading into the remainder of the game. But it was not to be, as Kaipo-Noa tossed a late pitch that was intercepted by Anthony Bratton deep in Navy territory. I don't know what was going on with Kaipo, but he hasn't looked as smooth or confident running the option over the past two weeks. In fact, he was very hesitant to pitch the ball early despite having several favorable pitch reads. It could be physical, but you have to wonder if the margin for error that Navy's offense has been experiencing has gotten into Kaipo's head. The point was that when he did decide to pitch it he threw it away, and with it went Navy's momentum. Even still, we must be careful not to assign the blame of this loss with the offense, which for much of the game operated flawlessly en route to it's highest scoring day of the season. Still, even as the occasional offensive miscue is to be expected, Kaipo-Noa's fumble was huge in that it changed the entire dynamic of the game, and swung momentum back to the Blue Hens.
The rest of the game was all downhill. Even as the Midshipmen scored almost at will, Delaware's offense did Navy one better, and a third quarter Eric Kettani fumbled seemed to seal the deal for the Blue Hens. Like last week, this week's loss came down to Navy turning the ball over and the opposition taking advantage. Once again, Navy's defense failed to anything to slow down the opposing offense, while the inability to force even a single turnover put the offense at a significant disadvantage. And then there was the kickoff coverage unit, which proved once again that when it comes to special teams, Navy has a long way to go.
I seriously don't even know what to say anymore. Starting on Monday I 'm suppose to do a number of interviews and question and answer segments in lead up to the Notre Dame game. The game that just a few weeks ago everyone and their mother starting saying would be the game in which Navy finally climbed that 43 year hill. Now not only do Navy's prospects for upsetting the Irish seem slim to none, but Navy's bowl prospects (which looked like a sure thing two weeks ago) seem to be doubt. I don't mean to take anything away from Delaware, but let's get real, this game had a lot more to do with Navy just being bad than Delaware being good.
Something is going to have to give, and for the Midshipmen to accomplish even some of their goals coming into the season someone is going to have to step up on defense and make a play. If not, we will continue to be subjected to shootouts with mediocre teams, with the prospects of victory hinging upon the flawless execution of an offense in a game which isn't often conducive of perfect play on any level.