Riders 33 - Hamilton 28
I've always said that being a Rider fan would be the death of me and this Saturday was further evidence to that theory. I love an exciting back and forth CFL game that goes down to the wire as much as the next guy but they are not easy on the old ticker. That's two in row now. If this keeps up I will be doing my posts from the cardiac unit by mid-season.
What a game though! While it was a lot closer than I was hoping, all's well that ends well. Hamilton is looking more and more like a respectable team. I won't go as far as to say they are there yet, mainly because I believe that to be classified as a respectable team you have to have at least one passing TD in 3 games, but they are getting there. Their improvement has been mainly due to the strong play of Jesse Lumsden... well okay let's be fair... it's entirely due to Jesse Lumsden (who looks like the greasiest piece of white trash I've seen in some time, although maybe it's the grease that makes him so hard to bring down). On Saturday, Lumsden made the best run D in the league look very mediocre... I'm hoping that is a reflection of Lumsden's talent more than a reflection of the strength of our run defense. But other than Lumsden, Hamilton didn't have a whole lot going for them... though if you ask Marcel Bellefeuille he will tell you it was due to the absence of Jason French.
So that Durant guys is kinda good. He hit a 31 yd pass to Corey Grant to open the game and never looked back. Watching him play, you wouldn't have thought it was his first pro start. He showed poise and executed the offense well. He was by no means perfect, but when a guy throws 2 TDs, over 300 yards, 0 INTs and isn't sacked once, I'd say he had a damn fine performance. Were it not for Andy Fantuz doing his best Steven Jyles impersonation we would have had 0 turnovers. It seems that Double D (as his teammates refer to him) has the ability to be more than just a career back-up. He's got the skills to make it as a starter. While I'm used to saying that I am a big fan of Double D's, this is the first time I used that phrase in a football context.
Speaking of breakout performances, how about Weston Dressler? He had a huge game. 6 catches for 122 yards and a TD. And that run in the 4th quarter was a thing of beauty. I had to chuckle when the Hamilton fans erupted upon hearing that it was no TD only to be devastated by the news that we still got the ball on the 1. Though it's hard to fault them for not knowing the rules when their head coach apparently doesn't either. Note to Charlie Taffe: You can't challenge with less than 3 minutes left, especially when the booth already reviewed it. As for Dressler, it looks like he's the real deal. That kid is faster than a greased Lumsden. Hopefully his hamstring doesn't keep him out too long because I think his performance against Hamilton was only the beginning for this young speedster.
Here's my big question from the game Saturday. How is a team supposed to cover our offense? I mean, we get down close to the goal line, and the Hamilton Defense is doing everything they can to make sure Wes Cates doesn't run the ball in, all while desperately trying to throw blanket coverage on any number of talented receivers. But even when they have that taken care of, they still forget about Neal Hughes (might want to watch him) and the offensive legends known as Mike McCullough and Luc Mullinder! They were wide open!
So where are all the so-called experts now? You know, the ones who predicted that the Riders would fall to the CFL's basement. The ones who assumed that Austin, Joseph, Perry and Hunt were irreplaceable. The ones who had no faith in the "no-names" we brought in this offseason. Those "experts" who were very vocal coming into the season have gone mysteriously silent. Maybe it's because for the past 3 weeks the "doomed to fail Riders" have been proving them wrong. Then again maybe they haven't gone silent at all it's just that it's too hard to hear them from all the way up here in first place.
Around the CFL...
The Toronto gong-show continues. Back-up Michael Bishop has now been reduced to playing only when Joseph's hand it hurt or when he needs to get something from the locker room. All the while he wears a look on his face that makes it seem like everyone forgot his birthday. Also, a message to all you misguided fools who think it would be a good idea for us to pick up Bishop: Crandell will be back in a week or 2 and Durant is obviously quite capable in his absence. Besides, if we wanted a mobile QB with a cannon for an arm who is prone to poor decisions and mistakes, we already have Steven Jyles who's younger, cheaper and his voice is far less irritating.
Lastly, I would like to make a brief comment on the Blue Bombers...I haven't seem a performance as embarrassing as Winnipeg's since Hulk Hogan starred as Mr. Nanny. That is all.
I'm the Rider Prophet and those are my sentimonies.