Is it safe to think Oregon’s offense is turning a corner with Anthony Brown at QB?

·3 min read

When you look at the numbers, Oregon quarterback Anthony Brown had arguably his best day in a Ducks’ uniform on Saturday against UCLA. He completed 74% of his passes (29-for-39) for 296 yards and added 85 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

In all, the Ducks had 417 yards of offense, averaging 6.6 yards per play with 22 first downs.

Of course, there was a little bit of bad to go with the good; Brown threw a pair of interceptions in the fourth quarter that led to UCLA’s comeback, making it a three-point game in the end. However, both of those throws are fixable, the second of which came in a situation where you could argue Oregon shouldn’t have been throwing the ball in the first place.

Related

Mario Cristobal explains 'no more booing' comments to Oregon fanbase

Despite the negatives, there should be some real confidence that the Ducks have finally found something that worked in the passing game. 11 different players caught a pass on Saturday, and in a game where the rushing attack was rarely heard from, it was much needed.

So what was different this time around?

“Him being able to diagnose coverages, get the ball out on time,” head coach Mario Cristobal said of Brown. “I believe he was 29 of 39. So he was pretty accurate on a lot of balls. Some balls he’d like to have back and of course, the interceptions were ones that were not good throws. But there’s a lot of good, a lot of good plays, and a lot of really good throws that he made that changed the game.”

Related

Making Grades: Ducks turn in a much-needed victory on the road

The credit does not belong to just AB alone, of course. The offensive line, which was playing short a couple of guys once again — starting center Alex Forsyth was ruled out before the game, and guard Jackson Powers-Johnson went down with an ankle injury in the first half — did a great job of stepping up and giving Brown time to throw. Brown was only sacked once, and rarely had to deal with much pressure in his face.

“I think it was all the guys,” said offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. “I’ve said it before, in the passing game, there are really three components. The protection, the route, and then the throw. Our offensive line and running backs did a really good job protecting their six-man pressures, the receivers did a good job of getting down the field and we completed that with a number of throws, and then Anthony a second week in a row of completing above 70 percent of his throws. All three ingredients of a successful pass game came together pretty nicely on Saturday.”

Related

Does Kayvon Thibodeaux have a realistic chance to be considered for Heisman Trophy?

So what does this mean going forward? Is it safe to feel like Oregon turned a corner on offense and we can expect more production in the passing game during the weeks ahead? Or rather, will we once again get burned and witness a close contest against the Colorado Buffaloes this coming week, where the Ducks are again asking their defense to bail them out with a fourth-quarter stop?

It’s impossible for us to say, since this is a team that has been wildly inconsistent in the 2021 season. However, for the first time on Saturday, we got to see the offense move the ball through the air, and some receivers at long last had a chance to shine. That’s never a bad sign.

“We starting to get more in sync,” Cristobal said. “We have to show just a greater determination for executing at a higher level because there was more consistency, it’s not all the way to where it needs to be. There is progress. We’re excited about that, and it against starts with the quarterback and the guys upfront.”

List

How former Oregon Ducks performed in NFL Week 7 games