Washington humbled by ‘as good as advertised’ Alabama

USA TODAY Sports’ Dan Wolken recaps the Peach Bowl and what lies ahead for Alabama and Washington.


ATLANTA — Chris Petersen came to the College Football Playoff with no illusions about what it would take to beat Alabama. He had studied every snap of the Crimson Tide’s season, which would have shown him and his players that Washington was going to have to play nearly perfect football to overcome the sheer power and speed of a defense that is rocketing toward the conversation as the best of all time.

And by the end of Alabama’s 24-7 victory in the Peach Bowl, Petersen offered a succinct yet revealing assessment of what he had just seen in person for the first time.

“They kind of are what we thought they were,” Petersen said.

Though it might not have seemed that way when Washington marched 64 yards on eight plays to take an early 7-0 lead, the Huskies soon felt Alabama at its boa constrictor-like best, slowly suffocating an offense that averaged 477 yards per game this season.

After Washington’s touchdown drive, Alabama yielded just 2.2 yards per play the rest of the game with five drives that ended three-and-out. When the Huskies tried to run, they got nowhere. When they passed, they either couldn’t give quarterback Jake Browning enough time to make throws or couldn’t get open when Alabama dropped seven into coverage.

“They’re as good as advertised,” receiver Dante Pettis said. “We didn’t do the things we wanted to do. We didn’t execute the way we thought we should have. Any receiver is going to be frustrated when the quarterback doesn’t have time to throw, but we understand. They have a great front seven. It’s asking a lot of our line.”

It’s asking a lot of anyone’s offensive line to spend four quarters trying to block the likes of Jonathan Allen, Dalvin Tomlinson, Reuben Foster and Tim Williams. And, in fact, Alabama is so deep that one of the game’s crucial early plays was made by reserve defensive lineman Joshua Frazier, who prevented a potential big gain in the second quarter by running down Browning for his first sack since 2014.

Like so many quarterbacks before him, the openings Browning thought he saw just weren’t there against Alabama. And as the game wore on he got less and less accurate, a natural reaction to the footsteps chasing him every time he dropped back to pass.

“I think…