Rating the Bears: Cal vs. Leland Stanford Junior University

Another special teams disaster...

Of course it was a special teams fiasco. On the heels of blowing a win against OSU on special teams miscues, the Bears allow an 11-point swing thanks to a muffed punt, blocked field goal, and blocked PAT. And in a rivalry whose most iconic moment is a spectacular special teams play, we blow the game with that blocked PAT.

Clearly I’m not the only one salty about special teams…

Other than the abysmally low special teams score, the scores aren’t too bad. Obviously the painful loss dragged down the coaching and overall scores, but the run defense and offense posted their highest scores of the season. And pass offense and pass defense weren’t far from last week’s highs.

Naturally, the 0-3 start has dragged down our chances of a win against the Ducks from toss-up to highly improbable.

Ratings Comparison

Other than the 2019 win and the near-upset in 2011, it’s been a pretty dark series of Big Games since we’ve been collecting these postgame ratings. By comparison, last week’s game wasn’t that bad (except those awful special teams).

Compared to the rest of the Wilcox Era, the offense was slightly better than average while the defense was slightly worse than average.

Special teams, however, were the worst of the Wilcox Era by a large margin. In fact, this was the third-worst special teams score we’ve seen in our 11 years of running this series. In case you’re morbidly curious, second-worst was the 2013 USC game that gave us that infamous fake punt. And worst was the 2012 game at Utah that featured TWO one-hundred-yard kickoff returns.

Awards

We all deserve an award for surviving this far into this winless season. But we’ll still recognize our usual trio of awards.

Old Blues

First, the worst scores of the week.

Sunshine Pumpers

Next, the highest scores of the week.

The Voice of Reason

And finally, those whose scores were closest to the community average.

Next up, your comments. Do yourself a favor and start a bag of popcorn now so it’s ready by the time you get to the special teams comments.

Any comments about the gameday experience?

HaasBear - At least I’m sad on Friday not Saturday.

KJ1980 - Painful painful painful. Most painful experience for me in watching Cal sorts in 40-plus years

Old Bear 71 - Agonizing finish, but I’m an Old Blue. Been there done that. The sun will probably come up tomorrow. But right now in North Carolina it is dark outside matching my mood.

SG Bear - Seat right in front of the TV, not that I needed it because I anxiety-paced around the room the entire time.

Gerardo H - Loved watching along with you guys again. At least we can all share in each other’s pain.

Gobears157 - I'm only here so I don't get fined.

Goldenone - Odd to be sure. They kept showing the axe during the Fox telecast, and it was very painful to see the Stanford players take it bake after the game.

Any comments about the pass offense?

The Ghost of Joe Roth - I hope when O line starters are back Chase has more time to throw.

Lucky1715 - Zero confidence. We have some exceptional receivers and are still not connecting with confidence.

SG Bear - Essentially the 2nd string O-line was playing and it showed. Garbers was off his game because he had so much pressure on him all day. That being said, there were plenty of plays where Garbers had time and did not execute well on his throws, often too far.

Gerardo H - We NEED to get the balls in the hands of our playmakers. There was no creativity to do so. It’s all vanilla.

GoldenBear88 - In last year's Big Game, Garbers connected on some bombs that helped us win. Today? He wasn't able to do much and most of his completions were for short gains.

Texashaterforlife - Garbers is probably coming back for his senior year cuz at this point he is not getting drafted. The offseason would have really helped the O-line with communication for blitz pickup. Learn what you can with the younger guys to plan for next year's team.

KJ1980 - Better than average no INTs

TFunk911 - Missed a lot of open deep passes. Hardly any passing yards. At least no interceptions. 

Any comments about the run offense?

HaasBear - Moore is a beast

AirBear2015 - Feed Moore More

Poohbears - Slow, but fairly effective blocking.

TFunk911 - Moore ran violently and I loved it. I wish we had gotten Christopher brown jr in more.

Go Eat A Taco - Pretty awesome Mr. Moore (12.1 ypc). Kid has great vision and his pad level at moment of contact ensures he's falling forward. I think he will remember his first Big Game for a long time.

GoldenBear88 - Looking good. It could have won the game for us if special teams hadn't screwed up so badly.

Goldenone - Better than expected as we ran for over 200 yards. Normally that signals a victory.

Any comments about the pass defense?

The Ghost of Joe Roth - Better this week

Drillerbear - LSJU QB is good, but Cal secondary kept him from getting away with anything long.

HeyAlumniGo - Looked pretty good. Good play on the INT by the safety. Quite a few pass breakups. I only remember 1 pass play > 20 yards, though it might have been a TE (shocking, I know).

SG Bear - Look, you've got a new DC and not a lot of in-person practice due to Covid, but I found Sirmon's packages to be very plain vanilla. I miss the more aggressive disguising of pre-snap alignments under DeRuyter, which would mess up a QBs reads. Mills does a poor job doing his pre-snap look as he tends to linger his looks right at his hot receivers.

Gerardo H - Too much open space in the middle of the defense. So much underneath stuff given up, especially when it seemed to be the most crucial, on 3rd down.

1988goldenbear - Not much push to pressure Davis, so he was accurate enough to make us pay.

HaasBear - Better. Much better

Any comments about the run defense?

HaasBear - We were thin but did enough.

Sacman701 - Mostly in position, as Furd's longest run was just 11 yards. Tackling was poor and we gave up way too many yards after contact, especially on the last sequence when Furd was telegraphing inside runs.

Bowlesman80 - Not sure what happened, but it felt like the Furd O-line was outmuscling our D-line. Anyway, Jones got a bit farther than I'd like to see.

Texashaterforlife - A good run defense needs elite D-lineman and quality depth. Cal does not have that at this time. The LBs help, but not if the D-line is being pushed into them 5 yards (or more) downfield.

1988goldenbear - There were some nice series, and some times where tackling appeared to be optional.

Gerardo H - Cal D-line didn’t get enough push. Seemed to be pushed down field quite often. Allowing Furd to get 4 and 5 yards with regularity.

Any comments about the special teams?

Oski74 - They need to spend more time emphasizing fundamentals.

Drillerbear - I gave 10 points for one good punt early in the game. Other than that the special teams were a complete 0, culminating with the blocked PAT that would have tied the game.

SG Bear - Fumbling that return was horrible. I - along with everyone else - noticed early that they were stacking over the right guard to effectively overwhelm. And then we didn't do anything counter. From then on, I was then yelling at the TV. Yelling for fake punt. Yelling for 2 points if we ever got the miracle of a late TD. Oh, we're going for 1? Yelling for timeout. No timeout? Yell for sweep-option left. Uh oh, LS Slater Zellers isn't focused on anything but his snap. Yelling at Zellers to at least do something once he snapped the ball. Then me yelling the F-word loudly and repeatedly.

ak_A_bear - No comment.

Goldenone - Unprintable…

Gerardo H - How can it be so obvious where they load up the line to block these kicks.

The fumble on Remigio can be understood, that happens every once in a while, even to the pros. But TWO blocked FG’s? When is the last time we saw that?

Poohbears - {<~<_]€>_<_]£§>~[_ ‘]~>_>£>_…>>_]|]~{~§]]£]¥<……{£{>|{_{¥!(*&$;-(+;=‘

Any comments about the coaching?

Poohbears - I miss Dykes. A lot.

Bowlesman80 - Remember when we were a "second-half" team, coaches would make adjustments and we either would keep it close or shut out the opposition in the second half? Still waiting to see that this year.

Azulviejo - Play calling sucks. We call conservative plays 70% of the time, as if we were ahead by 28 points!

Texashaterforlife - While it is too late for this season, Musgraves has to install more creative offensive play calling. AND THE SPECIAL TEAMS COACH NEEDS TO DO UP-DOWNS AND SPRINTS WITH THE REST OF THE TEAM FOR THAT PUTRID EFFORT. One blocked kick, shame on them. Two blocked kicks, shame on me which results in running until I puke!

BlueAndOld - I'm warming up to Musgrave. Special Teams HAS to be on the hot seat.

Goldenone - It seems we had a better command of the Musgrave system. Defense played well enough to win but ST gave up to many short fields.

Lucky1715 - Defense is not cutting it, special teams is giving away the games, and offense hasn't shown me anything that gets me excited (poor receiver separation, poor QB mechanics) so coaching bears the brunt right now. Coaching was FAR to conservative all day long. This staff is too good to allow this.

The only bright note is that I think Coach Tui has finally found a place that he is contributing and not hindering as the tight ends are looking good.

Any comments about the overall performance?

HeyAlumniGo - I thought the D played really well, certainly well enough to win. If I remember they only had a couple of long drives for a score. Most their other scores were on short fields. The RB fumble was around midfield. Remigio's fumble on the punt was around the 25.

Lucky1715 - This is a write-off season that shows us a lot of areas we need to improve (everywhere!). We were the better team that beat itself. Yes, we should have gone for 2 with our running game looking solid most of the day. But the vanilla offense was going to get us in trouble there, too.

This team is definitely better than their record, but the coaching staff is suffering more than other staffs this year - don't get that. The joys of being a Cal fan. This one cost me a few dinners!

ak_A_bear - Well, we were competitive but tired of self inflicted wounds.

Goldenone - Good enough to win but we were hamstrung by all of our self-inflicted miscues.

Gerardo H - So extremely underwhelming in all aspects. Sure our practices have been limited by Covid, but so have everyone else’s. And yet we had the most returning offense in the conference. A lot of new starters in defense so it makes sense that they’re taking time to get. Overall, didn’t give up much, but the offense needs to get creative or figure out how to stay on the field more and sustain drives.

BlueAndOld - It was Big Game, on a Friday and during a pandemic. At least I didn't get stuck in post-game traffic!

BearsWillEndMyLife - Thank G-d none of this counts.

Tangtpt - Didn't see the final stats, but by the end we were in a position to outgain 'furd's offense. The fact that we would still lose that game is typical Cal. Had no business losing that game after 5 key mistakes. We also had only one penalty until the very end (which was the very costly defensive holding penalty that negated the INT). If you told me that we would be outgaining Stanfurd and only had one penalty with 0:45 left in the 4th quarter, I would have thought we were winning by a lot. Well, no. *pfrrt*

Bowlesman80 - I love these guys. And this year is a Charlie Foxtrot. But this Big Game was ours to lose- and we did...lose..by one point...when we did not score...when ST was on the field...and that was the entire game.

Sacman701 - Once again the offense and defense were (barely) good enough to win, but the special teams f'd everything up six ways from Sunday. With merely below average special teams, we would be 2-1.

HaasBear - This is a really tough year, I feel horrible for the kids.