Riders 33 – Eskimos 38
Saturday started out so perfectly. It was a balmy Saturday afternoon, nostalgia was in the air as Rider greats from ’89 were present, we roared out to a 22 – 0 lead fueled by a great special teams play, some great defense and an impressive 102 yard offensive drive. Yes, the stars were aligning for a story book day for the Riders.
But apparently the Riders were reading a Choose Your Own Adventure book and when they got to the part that said “turn to page 30 for continue dominating or turn to page 45 for utterly implode in all 3 phases of the game” they unfortunately chose page 45. And that led to the embarrassing collapse we were all subjected to watching.
About the only positive thing I can say is that the whole team sucked equally so we can’t single anyone out. They all contributed their fair share to making the very mediocre Eskimos look like all-stars.
On offense I could blame our O-line for losing the battle in the trenches, I could blame the complete lack of a run game, or I could blame Durant for another poor showing, but for me the blame lies squarely on 2 individuals… Ken Miller and Paul LaPolice. I said last week that I have never been sold on LaPo as our OC and this week only reaffirmed that. That may have been one of the worst displays on play calling I’ve seen in a long time. 5 yard slant on 2nd and 20? Short dumps to the RB on 2nd and long? This is the best you can come up with? With all due respect to Rob Bagg, when the short out to Bagg is the focal point of your offense, you’re not going to put up many points. Defenses have clued into the fact that we never call plays longer than 15 yards so they are cheating up and taking away all our short routes thus neutralizing our attack.
Now you may make the argument that Durant’s play is limiting what LaPo can do but that’s a bogus excuse. If your QB can’t run the plays you are calling you either change your calls or change your QB. Our coaches opted to do neither and that led to an offensive attack that was about as useful as my Betamax VCR.
As for the defense… well when you let the worst rushing attack in the league run all over you, you should feel utterly embarrassed. Maybe Etch should spend less time coming up with crazy formations and more time teaching the defenders how to tackle. It was like they were going out of their way to let the Esks run by them… check that… they were going out of their way. James Patrick has evidently never learned to tackle. So far he has been a big disappointment at safety. He’s not ball hawking like he was supposed to and he certainly can’t tackle. I wouldn’t mind benching him for a game to see what Daniel Francis can do. Much like how opponents have figured out and neutralized our offense, they have also figured out and neutralized our defense (adjustments are evidently not our strong point). We also got zero pressure on Ricky Ray and guess what? When you give Ray time he will pick you apart.
Yet again I’m forced to comment on the officiating. While I’m not about to pin the loss on bad reffing, Proulx and his crew certainly weren’t doing us any favours. First off on that punt return TD how was there not a holding or clipping call… or 3?? Second, what an absolutely brutal spot on that 3rd and inches! There’s no way you can tell me that Jyles didn’t get the mere inches we needed. When you toss in the holding that Montreal got away with last week it really makes me wonder if someone from the Rider organization slept with one of the refs’ wives. They all seem to have it out for us.
Other random thoughts:
- Joel Bell looked decent for his first game
- Hopefully Armour’s injury is not a sign that the broken fibula pandemic is reappearing
- It was great to see the ’89 team with the cup. I swear Jurasin looked like he could still suit up and play... and I bet he would have done better than our current guys too.
We let an easy win over a mediocre team slip away and if we don’t improve in every aspect of the game quickly, this will only be the first of many losses.
Around the league…
- Montreal is so good they are almost robotic.
- It’s only a matter of time before Kevin Glenn is named Hamilton’s starter
- The Winnipeg/Toronto game was one of the worst displays of football I have ever seen. It was a team with receivers but no QB versus one with a QB but no receivers. Despite playing all 3 of their QBs the Bombers failed to eclipse 70 yards passing.
- To Mike Kelly’s credit he seems to have finally realized that his golden boy LeFors sucks and went out and found himself a new QB to jumpstart the Bomber offense … none other than Michael Bishop. HAHAHA!!! I’ll have more on this hilarious turn of events on Thursday (maybe I’ll have stopped laughing by then… but not likely HAHA!!).
- As bad as Winnipeg’s QBs were, at least they can blame inexperience… what is Wally Buono’s excuse for the terrible play of both of his QBs? I would go with the fact that they both suck, but that’s just me.
- How funny was it to watch Calgary’s DBs fight each other?