Time to drop #drop50

Sean-Wagner-Full

It was fun while it lasted, but with the Cal football team’s recent 31-7 thumping at the hands of Washington, it’s time to drop #drop50 and the concept behind the hashtag.

The thinking behind #drop50 is that whenever the Bears score more than 50 points in a game, they win. And while that might still ring true — Cal has yet to lose when it has scored 50 points or more — it’s just not a very sustainable idea. As we saw Saturday afternoon, exploding past the 50-point mark doesn’t always happen.

After the game, running back Daniel Lasco spoke about how difficult it is to put up 50 points on a game-by-game basis.

“Everybody was saying we can score 50 points easily. I felt like a lot of people bought into it, and they don’t really realize how hard it is to win a football game and how hard it is to be productive on offense.”

He also pretty much admitted that the hype surrounding #drop50 affected the team’s mindset heading into the game.

“Throughout the past couple weeks, we’ve had so much notoriety…. so much success on offense that I believe it got to our heads.”

Saturday’s game exemplified why it’s so hard to depend on 50 points: It leaves little room for error. Sure enough, the difference in the game on Saturday came down to Cal repeatedly shooting itself in the foot.

The Bears had three turnovers, including a Jared Goff fumble on the goal line which was recovered and returned for a Washington touchdown. Goff was also sacked four times. As a team, the Bears were 1-of-4 in the red zone and 7-of-17 on third down. In addition, Cal committed seven penalties.

Credit must be given to Washington’s defense, as it didn’t allow a single Cal play to go for more than 25 yards. And even though they played their safeties high up the field, the Huskies limited the Bears’ rushing attack.

Until the Cal defense can replicate Washington’s performance today, success will be fleeting for a Bears program in the midst of rebuilding.

At one point during the game on Saturday, Cal alumnus and current NFL reporter Mike Silver, sent out a Tweet that hit the nail on the head:

Silver is right — it’s impossible to be “video-game good” forever. If you look at the teams typically winning national championships and Super Bowls, they aren’t necessarily offensive juggernauts that score on every single drive; they’re teams that are capable of generating stops on a consistent basis.

Alabama, a team built on running the football and playing great defense, has won three national championships since 2009. And, in the Super Bowl, the defense of the Seattle Seahawks squashed the high-flying offense of the Denver Broncos. In previous years, the New York Giants’ pass-rush overcame Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl twice.

Obviously, Cal isn’t there yet. The Bears aren’t good enough to win a game relying solely on their defense. Right now, they’re a flawed team that is forced to rely on its offense.

With a surprising 4-2 record, Cal should be more proud than ashamed at this point in the season. Its offense is good enough to drop 50. I’m not disputing that. All I’m saying is that it’s not the greatest sign in the world when the offense has to score 50 in order to win. It’s also not reasonable or fair to Cal’s offense to expect 50 points on every Saturday.

So, in the meantime, how about a new hashtag? As Silver put it via Twitter: “how about ‘score more f—– points than the other team’?”

Sean Wagner-McGough covers football. Contact him at swagnermcgough@dailycal.org. Follow him on Twitter @seanjwagner.

Read more here: http://www.dailycal.org/2014/10/11/time-drop-drop50/
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