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Cal vs. Texas negatives: Bears nearly blow another second half lead, defense regresses

Cal has had double digit leads in numerous wins in the second half and they keep on screwing them up.

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

What are the negatives to take from Cal-Texas? How does this make you more worried about the team going into the future?

LeonPowe: Giving up 3 touchdowns in the 4th quarter is no bueno. We let Heard beat us with his feet - either the coverage was off, or the contain was off. The blitz came at absolutely the wrong time. Rubenzer needs to read those QB runs better - you'd think he, out of everyone, would be able to read those better.

Time out management was - well, better than Texas, but still not ideal.

Berkelium97: The biggest negative is that this and last year's Arizona game have ensured that I will not feel safe with a big 4th quarter lead for a long, long, long time.

More seriously, though, I've never been a fan of Sonny Dykes' game management and this game did nothing to change that opinion. Challenging the spot in the 1st quarter was a stupid decision because it was clear the refs wouldn't be able to see anything in that pile of bodies. Kicking the field goal before halftime with 8 seconds left was questionable. With as quickly as this offense throws the ball, we had one more shot at a TD and should have taken it. Finally, the fourth quarter clock management was bizarre. Dykes should either commit to our usual offense or burn the clock. Running some hybrid of it never seems to work (see Arizona last year and our lone 1st down in the final 14 minutes in this game). That 2nd and 2 playcall with ~13 minutes left especially rustled my jimmies. With a two-TD lead, why not run the ball there with such a short-yardage situation? At worst, we burn 35 seconds off the clock and have 3rd and 5 or fewer. Why pass? That Jared was injured on the play made the call especially frustrating. This all comes back to my first point: I never, ever, ever feel comfortable when this team has anything less than a 4-TD lead.

Vincent S: Agree on game management. Why do we have to call a timeout on 4th down all the time when everyone in the stadium knows we're going to pooch punt it? If Texas had made that last extra point, having timeouts would have been valuable for a final minute march down the field to victory.

Also, hope Goff is okay. Washington will be tougher than we all projected at the beginning of the year.

KWBears:  Our defense was not the definition of stout.  We lost some good players to injury and it showed.  We can't expect to just outscore our opponents in shootouts - our defense needs to get better.

Ruey Yen: Not being able to close out the game is certainly a recurring issue. I do think the Cal game plan to try to eat more clock and slow the game down is something that Jared Goff needs to learn to do better. We completely have no offensive rhythm in the 4th quarter when just a few first downs would have been huge. Hopefully, we will be able to figure this out before the end of the season. A huge almost missed opportunity on the national stage that we still managed to win is perhaps the best recipe for the team to be a lot more focus heading into Pac-12 play and to work out the numerous kinks.

Cal special team also is quite worrisome, but that's been a continuing theme this year.

Avinash: Cal played one excellent quarter of football. The other three quarters they played like Leslie Knope on Ice.

The football team that showed up in that 15 minute second-to-third quarter stretch where we scored 31 points in a row is capable of beating anyone in the country. The football team that showed up in the other three quarters that blows double digit leads like they're the Clippers will send all of our fans to early graves.

Win a Pac-12 game in boring fashion Bears. Please.

Sam Fielder: The in-game coaching and playcalling sometimes baffles me. I love Sonny for what he's done to turn around this program, but there are still some things that happen in games that really worry me. This is not an offense that is built or ready to grind out the clock. Just play to the max, score another TD, and put the game out of reach. I kept telling my Dad that we needed one more TD to really put the game away and it felt like Cal really eased up once we got the 21 point lead. In the future, it makes me really worried if we have just a 7 point lead in the 4th quarter and need to have a game killing drive. I'm not confident we can do it.

Nik Jam: The offense sputtered after the 21 point lead. It looked like the team just called off the dogs, but Jared Goff may also have been injured. At the Cal Alumni Association, our AD even said he gave Sonny permission to run up the score to make up for Texas screwing Cal over in 2004, so why not you know, do that? Plus I really wanted to say #drop50.
Oh yeah, and the defense. Looks like they might continue to be a liability this year.

A.W. Johnston: Where do I begin? The fact we couldn't close a 21 point lead late and I am 85% sure I lost three years off my life from a single game. Am I allowed to just play a clip of Alex Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross? ABC's guys...

In all seriousness, I have a few major concerns going forward after this game. The first revolves around our defensive line which is now missing Devante Wilson. The second regards our late game defensive schemes. I have read a lot regarding our offensive play-calling, but I didn't have as big of an issue with that. My concern was with the change in our defensive strategy late in the game. We made excellent half time adjustments against Heard and were able to contain him for the majority of the second half. As soon as we shifted our game plan and moved away from sending extra men at the quarterback, our defense collapsed. When we stopped rushing Heard, he started to find the open receivers and tore our defense up. It was nothing short of infuriating.

Keegan Dresow: Obviously, Cal had trouble defending a dual threat quarterback.  They also still need to find the right mix of draining the clock but not losing offensive rhythm when they have a lead late in the game.