Riders 25 – Als 34
Today’s edition of Monday Morning Sentimonies comes to you live from the shores of PEI. The Prophet is currently enjoying some quasi-deserved vacation time. In a great display of timing, my first trip to the Maritimes has allowed me and Hurricane Bill hanging out quite a bit. Good times.
Right now you’re probably wondering why I’m still blogging while on vacation. Surely I could have left one of my other staff in charge of things. Well as much as I would like to say that it’s because I’m so dedicated to you my faithful readers… that would be a lie (nothing personal). The truth is I’m doing this because I have the most useless group of employees next to senate. PR Guy is less comprehensible than most newly landed immigrants, Man in the Bush hasn’t been heard from in days and may be currently serving 5-10 for a variety of offenses I’m happier not knowing about and Media Consultant… well I just plain don’t trust him. I guess you get what you pay for.
Anywho, I suppose I should make an attempt to comment on the game…
I was actually surprised at how well we played on Friday. I figured it would be a close game but the fact is we outplayed the Als in many aspects of the game but yet again fell victim to the same problems that have plagued our team all season… goal line offense, turnovers, special teams and 3rd quarter futility.
If you would have told me that we would have held Anthony Calvillo under 200 yards passing and sacked him 4 times I would have laughed at you. But amazingly that’s what our defense went out and did. Fell credit to them for an outstanding performance against the premier offensive unit in the league. Other than some piss poor tackling on the one TD I was very happy with how our defense performed.
Offensively, apparently Paul LaPolice took the advice that Dressler should be used more a bit too literally. He was pretty much our entire offense… even that 2 point convert was intended for Dressler, Getzlaf just jumped in front of him. It really didn’t surprise me that we couldn’t establish a run game against a Montreal run D that is stiffer than (insert sexually inappropriate comparison here; I’m too lazy to think of one on my own). Normally, the lack of a running game grinds our O to a halt. This time however, we simply started pushing the ball downfield instead… and with great success. Durant looked real good on his long passes (at least until Mathieu Proulx figured out our game plan and picked him off). In most cases, a strong defensive performance and a passing game that successfully stretches the field should be enough to win. But we’re the Riders and never do anything the conventional way.
While I have to give LaPolice credit for the passing game he called, I’m still left to wonder if his parents are related, or he was dropped on his head as a child… because man does he make some retarded decisions. One such example was when we got stuffed in the redzone early in the game. For reasons, I can only hope were alcohol related, LaPo decided to run our smallest RB up the middle twice in a row… and in a shocking turn of events we were stuffed both times. Most people would have used a bigger back such as Cates or Szarka to run up the middle, or at least ran to the outside to use Charles’ speed to our advantage, but not LaPo (maybe he just wanted to see a back flip really bad). Of course it doesn’t help matters when Durant throws brutally bad picks to the Als’ LBs.
Then we come to our special teams who have to be labeled as the worst unit in the league at this point. In all fairness to Kavis Reed we are currently missing our top 3 special teams players in Hughes, Williams and Stewart and they are being replaced with rookies… mostly DBs, which is a reason our blocking is so atrocious. That said it’s not like our issues on special teams are anything new, so maybe we should get around to addressing them. The only thing getting worse returns at this point is my pension fund.
If you look objectively at the game, if you take away the Als’ goal line stance and the punt return TD we could have easily beaten the best team in the CFL, which is extremely impressive. That said the reason that the Als are 7-1 and we are 4-4 is because they aren’t making the same mistakes that we routinely do (INTs, special teams screw ups and 3rd quarter holidays). Hopefully the bye week will allow the team a chance to heal up and the coaches a chance to start addressing our chronic problems because we are so close to being a premier team in this league but if we better start improving soon because Labour Day is coming up and we don’t want to get embarrassed like BC.
On that note, how bad do you have to be to give up 393 rushing yards in a single game?! I get mad when the Riders give up 100. Everyone in the country knew that Fred Reid was getting the ball on every play but somehow BC looked shocked and unable to do anything each and every time he got the ball. BC is in major trouble. For all the criticism that Mike Kelly has taken this year, I have to give him credit for one thing: he is the only coach to design an offensive attack that Michael Bishop couldn’t screw up… hand the ball off on every play.
Now if you’ll excuse me, me I gotta to get back to hanging with Hurricane Bill. I still have lots to do here this week including punching Anne of Green Gables, peeing in the ocean and starting up a lobster fighting ring. Catch you when I get back.