On paper, it looks like it could be an instant classic. Sam Bradford throws for more yards than any other Oklahoma quarterback in the 104-year history of the Red River Rivalry with 387 yards. He goes for five touchdowns through the air and keeps the offense afloat when the rushing game falls flat.
But while one man might be able to keep an offense going, it would be impossible for him to keep the entire team from losing. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened against Texas this weekend.
While Bradford and the offense might have done well, the defense and special teams let them down.
Bradford could have used some help though. Granted, Oklahoma was facing the fourth-best rush defense in the country. But their scheme is not that dissimilar from TCU’s, whom Oklahoma faced two weeks ago.
Adjustments should have been made to revitalize the run game. Still, DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown combined for only 48 rushing yards.
It didn’t help that we saw the same uninspired play calling in the second half. It seems like a simple deduction: If something isn’t working, quit trying it over and over. Case in point—rushing the ball up the middle failed miserably every single time. Yet in the second half we saw that play called time and again.
Sam Bradford was almost unstoppable in this game. Texas did a good job of trying to make his life miserable.
The Longhorns covered receivers well almost every play. They rushed Bradford and made him throw on the run. We even saw a designed run play for Bradford near the end of the fourth quarter. They were even able to pick him off twice (though one was very questionable).
But one thing we didn’t see was Bradford making the decision to change the play at the line of scrimmage. With any quarterback this is usually a good thing, but Bradford seems to have a knack for making the right call at the right moment. It’s as if the coaches told him not to take it upon himself and make the calls. In the end, it hurt the offense.
What have we learned from this game? One, Oklahoma’s running game is not nearly as good as it has been in past years. DeMarco Murray isn’t back to full strength (his numbers prove this), and Chris Brown can’t produce against a defensive line that holds their ground.
Second, Sam Bradford is a great quarterback, but uninspired play calling from upstairs will negate that advantage every time.
Third, the offensive playbook should be just that—a book. Trying the same three plays time and again will get an offense beat after the second quarter.