Riders 19 – Bombers 6
Well I’ve sufficiently recovered from my post-Labour Day celebrations to sit down and comment on the weekend. Now the game itself was a lot like that special massage I got from that discount masseuse… it wasn’t all that pretty and it’s nothing to brag about but at least it had a happy ending.
The big story going into the game was of course the debut of Michael Bishop. In what should have come as no surprise to anyone, Bishop turned in a less than stellar performance going 10 for 24 for just over 100 yards and tossing up an interception on the first series. In fact, some of his throws led me to believe we hadn't released Crandell at all, we had just changed his number to 17. But to be fair Bishop did enough to win (which is more a reflection on how bad Winnipeg is) and for only having a week to get up to speed I guess it wasn’t that bad a game. His mobility did extend a number of drives and led to our only TD. He was good enough on Sunday but he will have to be much better next time if he wants to keep the starter’s role.
Although we managed only a few completions, I was somewhat impressed with our receivers. When I saw Bowman and Palmer both make catches in the same quarter (and not only did Palmer catch his, but he got tackled without fumbling), I knew we were going to win. After Dressler got KO’d on the first series the only players who ran deep routes were Cates and Childs. Now at first this may seem like cause for concern until you realize that they are legitimately our best chances at a long completion. Fortunately, what I consider a minimal offensive attack, Winnipeg considers an overwhelming offensive onslaught from which there is no recovery.
Once again our defense stepped up big time. Seante “Big Te” Williams came through and closelined Glenn on the second play and the D dominated from that point on. The Riders put up 4 sacks, 2 INTs, allowed only 66 rushing yards and most importantly gave up 0 TDs. Mo Lloyd had a huge day with 2 sacks and a forced fumble.
The Bombers continue to amaze me. They have a vast array of talented players but each week they find new ways to embarrass themselves. Glenn turned in a performance that wouldn’t cut it on my touch football team and when your offensive MVP is the league’s worst kicker, Alexis Serna, you know you’ve got problems. Special mention goes out to Jason Armstead - you can change the jersey and change the teammates but the same old Armstead will still shine through. With his team down only 13 points, Armstead made the ill-informed decision to run a missed FG out of the endzone rather than concede the single. He only got as far as the 5 yard line before he ran into special teams legend Jocelyn Frenette, thus costing his team valuable field position. At this rate I’m hoping that Winnipeg cuts him and someone else picks him up so he can try and screw up 3 kick returns at Mosaic for 3 different teams. Jason said when he got here in ’06 that his goal was to win us a Cup. It's good to know that he plans on seeing that goal through to the finish.
As with every win, it wasn’t all good news. Apparently the price this year for a Rider win is 2 receivers minimum. This week the sacrificial lambs were Dressler and Bowman. Dressler suffered a mild concussion on a nasty hit on that Bishop INT, and though he hasn’t yet been ruled out for the Banjo Bowl, I have my doubts as to whether he’ll be ready. Bowman suffered a torn quad and will be out for at least a month. This leaves Corey Grant as the only starter from week 1 that is still healthy, though rumours are he is being fitted for a cast in anticipation of next game.
The win leaves the Riders alone atop the CFL standings at 7-2 and leaves Winnipeg nestled next to Hamilton in the CFL’s basement at 2-7. The Bombers were quick to begin the adjustments for next week’s rematch however. This morning they traded Charles Roberts to BC for Joe Smith, in a move I don’t understand at all. I’m not sure how swapping one underperforming RB for another one helps either team but what do I know. At least BC gets a player who values running the ball ahead of yoga and gardening. After watching the game Sunday I didn’t think it was possible for the Bombers to get worse… but I think Brendan Taman has proved me wrong.
I would like to end by commenting on a couple of recent NFL cuts who are garnering a lot of speculation in Riderville… Kenton Keith and Jon Ryan. Now admittedly both guys are extremely talented at their respective positions and under different circumstances I would love to have both on our team. However, unless KK is willing to play receiver for back-up type money or Ryan has discovered the cure for the broken fibula neither will be coming here anytime soon.
I’m the Rider Prophet and those are my sentimonies.