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Peach Bowl grades: Scarbrough, Allen lead Alabama in semifinal win

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31: Bo Scarbrough #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs the ball against the Washington Huskies during the 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome on December 31, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Alabama Crimson Tide 24, Washington Huskies 7

Here are the highest-graded players and top takeaways from Alabama’s College Football Playoff semifinal victory over Washington.

Washington Huskies

Quarterback grade: Jake Browning, 50.0

Browning completely flustered

It was clear that the quick pressure was getting into Browning’s head, even if it wasn’t consistently getting home. Browning was only under pressure on 15 of his 46 dropbacks, but he missed a handful of throws that he has routinely made throughout the season. He only completed 11-of-24 passes targeted past the line of scrimmage. When the pressure did get home, though, the results were disastrous. Browning was only 1-of-8 for 16 yards with that atrocious pick-six that all but sealed the game at the end of the first half.

Top offensive grades:

C Coleman Shelton, 77.3

RT Kaleb McGray, 71.3

WR Dante Pettis, 70.9

WR Aaron Fuller, 69.8

RB Myles Gaskin, 55.5

No reason to run

It was the obvious mismatch going into the game—Alabama’s defensive line against Washington’s offensive line—and it played out as expected. On 18 designed handoffs to running backs, the Huskies gained a total of 53 yards, with only 21 of those coming before contact. Even their best runs didn’t come from being well blocked, but rather the ball carrier making something out of nothing.

Top defensive grades:

S Budda Baker, 84.0

DT Jaylen Johnson, 82.3

DT Vita Vea, 80.9

CB Kevin King, 78.1

DT Damion Turpin, 72.6

Don’t blame the Huskies' defense

Washington’s defense more than held its own, keeping the Alabama offense under 20 points. Their vaunted secondary played lights out for most of the game, limiting Alabama to 57 yards through the air all day. There was one huge issue, though, that proved to be their Achilles heel: tackling. They combined to miss 16 tackles on 57 attempts for an abysmal 28 percent missed tackle rate.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Quarterback grade: Jalen Hurts, 55.5

Conservative passing game from Hurts

After the very first play from scrimmage was a dropped interception from Budda Baker, the Alabama play-calling grew ultra conservative. Multiple times on third-and-long, Hurts wasn’t even given a chance to throw. When Alabama did throw, it was almost exclusively off play-action. 70 percent of Hurts’ dropbacks featured a run fake, even though he only averaged 3.6 yards per attempt on those dropbacks.

Top offensive grades:

RB Bo Scarbrough, 89.8

RT Jonah Williams, 73.3

WR Gehrig Dieter, 70.9

RB Damien Harris, 70.0

TE O.J. Howard, 68.6

Scarbrough puts the team on his back

11 broken tackles. 132 yards after contact. One of the most impressive touchdowns runs of the entire season. Bo Scarbrough did it all for the Alabama offense on only 19 touches. His 402.2 elusive rating for the game is just silly. Alabama’s run-blocking unit actually had its lowest-graded game of the year, but it didn’t matter with the way Scarbrough was playing.

Top defensive grades:

DT Jonathan Allen, 89.5

CB Anthony Averett, 88.8

LB Reuben Foster, 88.6

CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, 84.5

S Ronnie Harrison, 82.4

All-time performance for Alabama defense

Washington had the nation’s third-highest scoring offense heading into this game, and Alabama’s defense matched their point total for the matchup (7). Unheard of performances like that have become commonplace for this team. They yielded a total of 54 yards on 17 targets against two of the highest-graded receivers in the country—Dante Pettis and John Ross. Pretty much every big-name Crimson Tide defender delivered in this one—Jonathan Allen had a sack and three hurries, Tim Williams had a sack and two hurries himself, LB Reuben Foster had a ridiculous seven defensive stops, and CB Minkah Fitzpatrick caught as many balls (one) as the receivers he was covering.

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. 

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