Poor Arthur Lynch.
His hands failed him at just the wrong time, and the Georgia Bulldogs' tight end owned up in emotional fashion following a crucial drop that helped doom the 'Dogs to a 24-19 Gator Bowl loss to Nebraska on Wednesday.
Lynch fell on his own sword admirably -- but he was not the culprit on Wednesday, as one of the few Georgia players to otherwise distinguish himself in a team performance that matched the sodden turf and forlorn skies over Jacksonville.
This latest disappointment went far deeper than Lynch's miscue.
There was another crucial special teams gaffe -- Reggie Davis' fumbled punt that helped Nebraska find the end zone for the first time -- another disastrous (frankly laughable, because what else are you going to do at this point?) defensive breakdown -- the Bulldogs secondary allowing Nebraska to complete its longest play in program history on third and 14 from its own one-inch line -- and an inconsistent performance from the offense -- which, to be fair, had been been historically good until this week.
In other words, this was a true team loss. Lynch just made the last and therefore most painful mistake. And yet there he was, following his last-ever game with the Bulldogs, apologizing.
It should not have finished that way for a player that has been a great representative for Georgia and one who had, until that last play, played pretty well, catching six passes for 69 yards.
Make no mistake, however, there should be some apologies handed out -- especially to those Georgia fans that made the trek to take in what was a disappointment of a performance.
And it would be nice to see the Bulldogs' leadership step forward, own up to the shortcomings and promise to do better.
And by leadership, I mean the head Dog.
I know that promises mean little in the grand scheme, and that, inside, Mark Richt must be fuming over his team's lackluster performance. But performances like Wednesdays have become a little too familiar to Georgia fans, and it would be nice to hear Richt acknowledge that those shortcomings are not tolerable.
Losses happen. Sometimes you get beat. Sometimes you play poorly. Sometimes the breaks go against you.
For Georgia, however, that "sometimes" is moving more toward oftentimes. And it is not just the losses themselves, but the manner in which they occur -- the concentration miscues, the lackluster efforts (words uttered by Georgia's own players after a few performances this season), the lack of total preparation -- that is so frustrating.
Yes, there are plenty of excuses readily available for this season's sharp decline -- injuries and a youthful defense chief among them -- but any program can find excuses, the better ones find solutions. And Georgia's solutions have not yielded an SEC title since 2005. In fact, since then, there has been a more steady diet of bitter defeats and inconsistent performances on which to feed, and it's producing plenty of bile and reflux.
The good news for Georgia is that ultimate success is not unachievable. There is no glass ceiling that is preventing the Bulldogs from ascending the SEC ladder. But, as Wednesday highlighted, Georgia is doing too much to hurt its own cause. And until that is corrected, inconsistency will remain the constant.
And that will turn on players like Lynch, who should not be finishing estimable careers with an apology.
-- Morgan Lee is sports editor for Access North Georgia.com