Riders 37 – Argos 9
It’s nice when things go as they are supposed to. The Argos were a team with a weak defense and no receivers playing on the road. It’s a game we should have won handily and we did (unlike our first encounter). For me the biggest difference between the win this week and the last loss to BC was capitalizing on opportunities. Against BC we had the ball inside their 5 three times and only got one TD. Saturday we quickly turned great field position thanks to 2 defensive takeaways into 2 TDs. Unlike last season, we don’t have the offensive fire power to dominate other teams so it’s important that we capitalize on the opportunities we do get if want to remain successful. That game was what I had expected to see out of the Riders early in 2014. Solid defense, solid running and a passing game that has just enough decent moments to get us by.
Saturday our defense was more than just solid, they imposed their will on the Argos. You could tell they were fired up to prove they were better than the last 2 games showed. The hits we harder, the tackles actually happened, Ray was under constant pressure, turnovers aplenty and only 3 FGs allowed. Brackenridge was a monster, all over the field and his stats should have even been higher if not for a that bad offside call. Tearrius George looked so amped up he might have killed someone. Keep in mind we dominated a team without their best 3 receivers but still, it was the level of intensity and the overall effort that impressed me most. If we can keep up that level of play we will easily contend with any team.
Offensively, there was some good and there was some bad. On the good, the thing that stands out for me is the fact that I forgot that Dan Clark was starting at centre. The fact that he was mostly invisible tells me he must of done pretty good. Also, good was Will Ford becoming the 3rd RB of the year to put up big numbers behind our line. I like his speed, I like how he ran. I also noticed him step up and attack when pass blocking. While its too early to appoint him the guy (remember what we said about Allen after his first game?), he likely earned a second start... which is pretty good by the way our RBs have been going. I was curious how long our “don’t throw a pass” strategy could work. Honestly you should not dominate games where you only complete 9 passes (and half the yards came on 2 of them). I haven't rewatched the game to see if our receivers weren't open or if Durant just wasn't getting his reads. But more than once Durant had lots of time and still failed to make the pass so that tells me people weren't open. DePalma looked good enough to stick in the starting bunch but the issue is that we have a bunch of decent #3/4 type receivers like him but only 1 guy we can lean on. Durant would not have thrown that long pass if anyone but Taj was there. But we are going to need a better effort from the passing game in the future.
The good news is that for once one phase of our team was able to carry the other phase when it sputtered. The win was good but let’s keep things in perspective we have 2 wins against really bad East teams. We still have a ways to go. The good news though is that we at least have hope back.
Other random thoughts:
- Loved the running rugby kick from Bartel. It was honestly one of his best punts of the night... off his left foot on the run. He should do that a few more times... like when Boreham used to do that.
- I know there is risk in having your starting CB as a returner, but Jackson certainly added a spark to our return game. Not sure where preseason Marshay Green went but regular season Marshay Green just hasn't shown that same spark.