Riders 30 – Ti-Cats 29
Well… to say the Riders should be proud of this latest win would be like saying you should be proud of barely beating Rick Hansen in the long jump.
Darian Durant came into this game having climbed his way back to the starting role. He looked sharp early and was moving the ball fairly well. He then proceeded to take a page out of Michael Bishop’s book and throw 3 interceptions (2 of which were in the endzone). In true Durant fashion though, he was far more efficient at it then Bishop as it only took him one half to do it. Enter Steven Jyles, whose early struggles did little to appease the sold-out crowd (especially when he added a pick of his own which was returned for a TD). Fortunately he recovered and put together a couple decent drives and that ended up being enough in the end… mainly because Denny Creehan has evidently never heard of the QB draw.
Now I’m sure many of you will be saying that I should be hating on Durant as I did with Bishop given his performance. While I admit that Durant had a bad outing and fully deserved to be pulled I will not equate him with Bishop. While Bishop has a long and storied history of sucking, Durant has done pretty good in his limited action this season. While I’m guessing Jyles will get the start next week, I would not be opposed to Durant being given a 2nd chance on a short leash. He moved the ball effectively, he just made some very poor choices in the redzone.
I was surprised to see James Johnson relegated in favour of Tad Kornegay this week. It’s not that Johnson didn’t deserve it since he’s been fairly brutal the last couple weeks and kudos to Coach Miller for holding him accountable, but I find 2 things odd about this. Last year when Johnson was terrible and getting burned week in and week out, they kept him in and dubbed him an all-star. This year (with the exception of the last couple games) Johnson has been doing very well... and coming from the former president of the James Johnson Hater Club that means a lot. Also, Johnson is far from our worst corner (see: Morgan, Omarr). So if we’re in the business of holding poor performance accountable maybe we should be looking to the other side of the field. Just saying is all.
Seems defensive end is the new receiver when it comes to injury. This week our mandatory injury was Stevie Baggs who injured his MCL. For those of you keeping track at home, our DE position has gone as follows this year: Dek Bake replaced the injured John Chick, Bake was then hurt and replaced with Seante Williams, who was hurt and replaced with Stevie Baggs who is now hurt and his replacement has yet to be named. One would think that finding a DE at this point in the season would be tough but then again how hard can it really be to find another defensive player who can’t get pressure on a QB?
Our kick returning is atrocious and I demand fiduciary compensation for being forced to watch it repeatedly. I would say our return blocking is brutal but that would not be accurate because something has to actually exist before it can be classified as brutal. While Johnson’s impression of playing Dance Dance Revolution may be uncanny, it is not all that useful in a game situation. Also, why do we keep taking holding calls on returns that don’t go anywhere? Generally holds result in impeding the cover team from tackling the returner as he attempts to make forward progress… evidently not in the kooky world of Alex Smith though.
As much as I respect our coaches for the tremendous work they’ve done this year, it’s gotten to a point where I have to question their intelligence of late… particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Why did we do nothing but pass in the 1st quarter when going into the wind and then proceed to run in the 2nd when the wind was at our back? Why did we concede a single point near the end of the first half only to kneel to end the quarter? If you are going to kneel anyway why not run the ball out since field position doesn’t matter! The fact that we were out-coached for the majority of the game by Marcel Bellefeuille should be cause for great alarm.
People keep saying the Riders play to the level of their opponents. That’s not true. This week we played just good enough to beat the Ti-Cats… last week we also played just good enough to beat the Ti-Cats.
To be fair it was not all doom and gloom. It was great to see Wes Cates back chewing up the yards. Matt Dominguez may have been used sparingly but just seeing him catch a ball and bounce back up was pretty awesome. Chris Szarka took full advantage of getting the ball more this game than all season. And Chris Getzlaf turned in another stellar performance and is looking more and more like a keeper each game.
It may not have been pretty but as Man In The Bush always says “Pretty or not, you gotta take what you can get.” For some reason though I don’t think he was talking about football when he made that quote.
Next up is the Edmonton Eskimos in a “Loser travels to Winnipeg” game. That's such a terrible punishment that I'm told Vince McMahon has considered using it as a stipulation in a match at his next pay per view.