Riders 13 – Bombers 31
If you were surprised by Friday’s outcome, I don’t know what to tell you. Nothing that we have seen from this team over the past 2 months has shown anything but a team on the decline. Between injuries and illnesses we have certainly had our share of legitimate excuses. But here’s the thing… Moore and Evans came back from injury, we didn’t get better. Clark and Ferland came back from injury, we didn’t get better. We got to play Winnipeg without the fear of pooping our pants, we didn’t get better. In fact, we seem to be getting worse.
The defense was once the force that powered this team. Now it appears they are worn out from the strain of carrying the rest of the team all season because they are declining. No big plays when we needed them. No sacks, no turnovers, poor tackling, consistently allowing over 25 points a game. The telling sign for me was when somehow our defensive scheme called for Larry Dean to cover Nik Demski (the Nik Demski who has been single-handedly killing us this year, the Nik Demksi I specially warned that we need to limit) deep downfield. That’s bad defensive scheming. And it’s a sign to me that even the one area that does not suck is starting to give up. Through 3 quarters the D did a good job overall but good is not enough for a unit that used to be dominant. Edem looks to have lost a step (or is more banged up than he is letting on). AC Leonard is sure not making a lot of plays for what we are paying him.
Offense produced one solitary TD and 13 points overall. Unless our application to transfer to the east division is approved, that kind of production just won’t cut it. I have been (and continue to be) a Fajardo fan but he’s terrible this year. I still think he can be a good QB but it won’t be here and it won’t be with this OC. Fajardo was awful. Bobbled a snap. Threw more than one pass to an open receiver into the dirt. Feet moving like he’s auditioning for Riverdance. Seriously, get that man some ankle weights to try and counteract his happy feet. Its not like we are putting him in a position to be successful though. The interception will go on Fajardo but it was Tevin Jones’ fault. Do I believe he could have lost the ball in the lights? Sure (and it was a dumb second and 5 play anyway). But even kids are taught by their coaches to play to the whistle. Despite no whistle, Jones gave up and was gingerly strolling back to the huddle while the play was still going on. That is not someone with his head in the game.
Some competent play calling would help… but we all know that ain’t happening here. In my pre-game write up I stated “I type this Maas is planning an offense based on deep shots”. Sure enough we are out there chucking it deep despite it definitely not being something we are good at and facing the bend but don’t break Hall D. Why? That 3rd down run to LaFrance that got stuffed was the definition of overthinking things. We needed a damn yard, fall forward. Pretty basic play. Yet instead we run some complicated thing were lineman are pulling. Not only did it not fool anyone (because it was pretty obvious where it was going) it resulted in defenders coming through a huge unblocked hole to stuff the run. And of course with Maas in charge you know we were settling for that FG in the 4th. Ask any person who has even loosely followed the CFL this season what the odds of the Riders’ O getting back into the redzone. We needed a major there, wussed out and 2 plays later the game was over. Every single aspect of the O is a mess.
At this point I’m honestly torn. Obviously I want us to win a game and get into the playoffs. We might even win the East-semi before getting annihilated in the east final (heavy emphasis on might). But I’m honestly torn between wanting that and wanting to us to flame out completely and miss the playoffs as that may force the team to make the changes needed rather than foolishly thinking they are “close” with this group.
Other random thoughts:
- At least Alford provides brief moments of joy
- Demski was definitely offside on that one TD
- I would like to request Nick Marshall resume short yardage duties
- Dickenson should have been kicked in the crotch for that late challenge. I know he was right but why on earth would you want to drag that crappy game out any longer?
- If the Riders wants to make big bucks this Grey Cup week, it would hold an official “Airing of the Grievances” event for the fans. Just let me get drunk and yell at O’Day for an hour. I would pay very good money.