Texas A&M-Alabama grades: Tide’s pass rush shuts down Aggies

The biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from Alabama’s win over Texas A&M.

| 8 months ago
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Texas A&M-Alabama grades: Tide’s pass rush shuts down Aggies

Alabama Crimson Tide 33, Texas A&M Aggies 14

Here are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from Alabama’s 33-14 win over Texas A&M:

Alabama Crimson Tide

Quarterback grade: Jalen Hurts, 61.3

Hurts struggles through air

Yet another game where Hurts’ legs do far more damage than Hurts’ arm. If he would have been under the pressure that his counterpart was all game, this game could have easily gone the opposite direction. Hurts was under pressure on nine of his 31 dropbacks and on those plays he went 0-4 through the air with two interceptions (albeit one on a hail mary) and took three sacks. He went just 1-5 on passes targeted 10+ yards downfield.

Top offensive grades:

C Bradley Bozeman, 82.6
RT Jonah Williams, 78.5
TE O.J. Howard, 74.2
RG Lester Cotton, 72.9
WR Calvin Ridley, 70.5

Blocking a team effort

If you want to know why Alabama is considered one of the most well-coached teams in the country along with one of the most talented, just look at the effort of their wide receivers and tight ends blocking on screens or runs. Gehrig Dieter currently owns the second-highest blocking grade of any wide receiver in the country and all the Bama wide outs were getting into the action on Saturday. Hurts’ 37-yard touchdown scramble gets stopped short without the effort of Calvin Ridley chopping down Armani Watts downfield.

Top defensive grades:

DT Jonathan Allen, 94.7
CB Marlon Humphrey, 90.9
ILB Reuben Foster, 88.0
DT Dalvin Tomlinson 85.8
DE Tim Williams, 84.7

Pass rush leaves little chance

It’s almost tiring to keep repeating it over and over again, but the Alabama front seven squeezed the life out of Texas A&M’s offense. Jonathan Allen’s early sack on Trevor Knight that featured a laid out dive over a running back to finish off was the most impressive play I’ve seen from a defensive lineman all season long. Allen finished the day with eight total pressures and was one of five Alabama defenders to tally at least three pressures in the game.

Texas A&M Aggies

Quarterback grade: Trevor Knight, 68.7

Not much more Knight can do

When you’re under pressure on 19 of your 40 dropbacks as a quarterback there is only so much you can do. On dropbacks that took 2.6 seconds or more for Knight to release the ball he was 5 of 14 with a quarterback rating of 31.8 and took four sacks. His accuracy in the quick passing game was some of the best I’d seen from him all season, but all Alabama had to do was overplay it and they were toast.

Top offensive grades:

WR Christian Kirk, 76.1
WR Josh Reynolds, 68.3
WR Jeremy Tabuyo, 60.6
RB Keith Ford, 55.1
RB Trayveon Williams, 54.3

Offensive line gives them no chance

This was not the game to be starting a true freshman at left guard. Colton Prater didn’t just have a bad day, he had the lowest grade of any guard in any game this year. The issue for the Texas A&M offensive line wasn’t that they continually lost, but rather the speed at which they lost. In almost every obvious passing situation, Knight was hitting his back foot to plant and throw and there was already an Alabama defensive lineman with a clean run at him. They weren’t any better in the run game as handoffs netted them 87 yards on 26 carries with 62 of them coming after contact.

Top defensive grades:

LB Claude George, 85.6
DE Myles Garrett, 80.9
S Armani Watts, 80.2
S Justin Evans, 77.7
DT Kingsley Keke, 76.8

Run fits an issue

For giving up 33 points I didn’t come away thinking the Texas A&M defense played poorly at all. They only gave up one real big pass play, one big scramble, and many of Alabama’s best runs were the result of misalignments. The Crimson Tide gave some different looks where they place multiple receivers right outside the tackles and then ran the ball their direction. The wide outs would down block on a linebacker or safety and it would leave a cornerback unblocked trying to make a play on the edge against the powerful Bama running backs. Needless to say it worked a handful of times even if the Texas A&M defensive line was winning the battle upfront.

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • Mike J.

    That Allen is a piece of work. Assuming Cleveland takes a quarterback, he could be the second player off the draft board come April.