By PAULO VALLAROTTI In an age when the team is losing, when players are having a bad day, when the atmosphere is turning sour, when fans are feeling left out, when people are asking why we’re watching this football team, you’d think the game would be more interesting and entertaining.
It has not been, of course.
The Crimson Tide have gone 0-4 since the start of the season, and on Sunday they suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the fourth quarter, 31-30, to rival Florida State.
Their first loss of the year came to Florida, which beat them by a combined score of 29-24 on October 28.
What made the loss so frustrating was not just the team’s poor performance, but the fact that it was so close.
Alabama went into the game having lost three straight, but this time they fell behind by a touchdown and were down 20-0.
Afterward, it was clear the Crimson Tide were going to lose, even if they were playing for a national championship.
So why is Alabama playing this way?
In the second half, after a scoreless first quarter, things were starting to get really bad for the Tide.
They were down 15-0 to the Seminoles at the half.
And they were getting punished for it.
Not only did Florida go on a 10-play, 72-yard scoring drive, but it was also the second-longest drive of the day, trailing only the first-half drive, which was 41 yards.
A huge problem for Alabama was that it allowed Florida to get back into the contest, and then scored its first touchdown, after the Seminole offense stalled out.
As the Seminoll offense stalled, the Tide’s defense started to get pressure and Alabama’s defense gave up big chunks of yards, while allowing the Seminoli offense to score.
In fact, the defense gave Florida its only touchdown of the game, a 34-yarder by J.T. Barrett, who had already scored a touchdown in the first half.
Florida responded with a touchdown drive, and a third-quarter field goal by D.J. Pettway, who made a diving tackle in the end zone and took it the other way.
But this was a terrible game for Alabama.
Its defense did a poor job of defending the Seminolls, allowing the Tide to score three times in the third quarter alone.
This resulted in a few critical errors for the Crimson Tides, and the entire game turned into a textbook example of why Alabama has to make changes to its team and its offense.
With just over two minutes left in the game and Florida holding a 20-14 lead, quarterback Connor Shaw threw an interception to the endzone.
When Shaw got into the end-zone, Florida recovered at the Alabama 22, and it was back to the beginning.
However, the game ended with Alabama scoring on its next drive, the longest of the night.
Florida scored on its third play of the fourth.
On the first play of that drive, Florida went for it on third down, and Alabama converted.
Two plays later, Florida was able to run out the clock, giving the Tide a 21-14 advantage.
There were a couple plays that didn’t go as well, but that’s to be expected.
You just have to watch the replay to understand what was going on.
Here’s a look at what happened on that drive: The first play was an easy one.
Duke Johnson runs a short play, and with two defenders coming towards him, Johnson drops his shoulder and tries to turn the corner and get open.
Then, he throws a perfect pass.
That was a good throw by Johnson, but when he misses it, he’s in trouble.
Instead, he hits Alabama safety Deandre Ayers.
Ayers comes out to help Johnson, and Johnson is in trouble again.
Johnson hits Ayers again, and he has a good play by Johnson on the sideline.
Next, Johnson threw a perfect interception to fullback Joe Harris, who ran the other end of the field for a touchdown.
Just when you think Johnson has a chance to make this play, the cornerback comes down with a sack.
Another play that should have been a touchdown, Alabama punts.
Shaw gets a nice cushion in the pocket, but he misses the snap, and his second pass of the evening is a perfect throw to the middle of the goal line.
Again, Johnson is covered by Ayers, and Harris is able to take it to the house.
For Alabama, that was a huge turnover, as it had a chance for a third and short.
Once again, the safety is in the middle.
Facing a third down with less than five minutes left, Alabama drives for the game-winning