Welcome to week 4. Oregon opens Pac-12 play against California. The visitors were reeling having tallied what would be their only win on the season. California came into the game with stern hopes of potential post season play, but tail spun into a 1 and the season record.
If you don't recall or if you haven't dried off yet, this was the deluge game. The rain was so bad that even in the second row of the press box my computer was getting wet. The Oregon faithful were gone by half time and so was any hope of California mounting a comeback.
What people will remember this game for was the inauspicious way the Bears started on offense: fumble, fumble, fumble, fumble, punt, interception. It was a perfect storm (haha) of chaos, an over matched team and elements which would not let a passing team get any traction (okay, I'll stop.)
The reason why you may not remember this play is because when it happened, the score was 41-3 and if you were in the stadium there were warm, dry clothes at home. Having already taken a punt to the house, Bralon Addison lined up deep to receive a punt after Oregon forced a 3 and out on defense.
Addison bounced off of a blocker and reversed his field. The Bears had 6 defenders who had a legitimate shot to bring the sophomore down but deft feet, timely blocking and liberal use of the width of the field saw Addison score his second punt return touchdown of the game.
Why It Mattered
One of the biggest questions Mark Helfrich was facing as a coach was whether or not he had the same killer instinct his predecessor had at the helm. The smart play, the safe play in this instance is to take the fair catch and set up shop with good field position at your own 33. While the Bears back had already been broken, Addison broke their spirit. Perhaps, he broke it for the season.
Addison's second punt return showed that Oregon is willing to put up points however, whenever they want. Players play and Addison being turned loose was an example of letting players make plays.
Also important to note was the way Addison was able to maintain focus and field vision even after the start of the return was botched. Frankly, this play should have never happened but Addison's ability made this play a reality.