Alabama Football: Crimson Tide still battling critical mistakes

(Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
(Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /

Alabama football got arguably its best win of the season when it beat Ole Miss on the road this past weekend. While the Crimson Tide showed improvements in several facets of the game, it still made some of the critical errors that have plagued the team all season.

The 2022 Alabama football season has been marred by bone-headed mistakes that have cost the team two games and nearly cost it several others. Alabama has shown a lack of discipline on both sides of the ball, and is the ninth-most penalized team in college football. It has been penalized for over 100 yards in three separate games.

The Tide had 15 penalties for 100 yards in a narrow win over Texas and 10 penalties for 101 yards in a win over Arkansas. It committed a school-record 17 penalties for 130 yards in a loss at Tennessee, and was flagged nine times for 92 yards in a loss at LSU.

Alabama Football: Untimely turnovers

Alabama also ranks 98th nationally with a minus-4 turnover margin. This is largely due to the defense’s inability to generate turnovers, as the offense really doesn’t turn the ball over an unreasonable amount. But it feels as though each of the Tide’s turnovers have come at the most inopportune of moments.

In its only turnover-prone game of the season, Alabama lost three fumbles and threw an interception at home against Texas A&M, nearly giving the game away to the Aggies.

Against Tennessee, Bama had just one turnover, coming on a muffed punt. The special teams turnover was a back-breaking mistake, as Alabama was down by two possessions but looked to be scratching its way back into the game. Instead, the turnover led directly to a Tennessee touchdown, allowing the Vols to take their largest lead in a game that would ultimately be decided on the final play.

In Alabama’s loss to LSU, a rare Bryce Young interception on the first possession ended up being costly in another game that was decided on the final play. While it looked very similar to plays Young has turned into touchdowns dozens of times in his Crimson Tide career, it was an unnecessary risk.

Young was attempting a very difficult pass into the end zone with the Alabama offense facing a 2nd down from inside the 5-yard line. It’s hard to imagine the Tide wouldn’t have scored points there and ultimately won the game if Bryce Young threw the ball away or even took a sack.

Alabama Football: Ole Miss win wasn’t devoid of mistakes

In Alabama’s big win over Ole Miss, it should not be overlooked that major errors nearly cost it another game. 14 of Ole Miss’ 24 points in the game were essentially gifted by the Crimson Tide.

After a bad start saw Alabama trailing 10-0, the Tide began to turn its fortunes around. The offense got on the board with a Bryce Young touchdown pass to Jermaine Burton, and then the defense forced a three-and-out to quickly get the ball back.

However, on the first play of the ensuing drive, Young hit Jojo Earle for what would’ve been a solid gain until Earle fumbled the possession away. The turnover shifted momentum right back to the Rebels, who capitalized eight plays later to stretch the lead back to double-digits.

Later in the game, with Alabama leading 24-17, it had an opportunity to fully seize control of the game in the second half. The Alabama defense got what should have been an emphatic stop, sacking Jaxson Dart on back-to-back plays.

On the second sack, however, Dallas Turner slung Dart to the ground by his facemask, turning a 4th & 19 into a new set of downs for the Ole Miss offense. Naturally, the Rebels converted the mishap into a game-tying touchdown.

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Had Alabama football lost this game, these two mistakes would be a lot more glaringly obvious. Even in a big win, it’s clear that Alabama is still working to correct some of its persisting discipline issues.