Riders 24 - Stampeders 23
I have to admit that even though I drove to Calgary to see the game first hand, I never really expected the Riders to win. The Stampeders are a solid football team and going into this game we were not. Add in the fact that we were missing Andy Fantuz and our offensive strategy involved a game of musical QBs. And with just over a minute left in the game everything had gone as expected. Of course being a Rider fan I should know that nothing ever goes as expected. In a grand total of 3 plays we went from seeing a thus-far perfect kicker lining up a FG that would have sealed our fate to seeing Dressler and Getzlaf move the ball the entire length of the field for a game winning major. Unbelievable!
Huge props go out to the O-line. Led by the returning Gene Makowsky, they turned in a great performance. They opened some huge holes for the run game and actually offered protection to our QB. I said before the game that the game would be won and lost in the trenches and our hoggies did not disappoint. Their performance led to something we haven’t seen in a while... a strong rushing performance by Wes Cates.
While I had my doubts about the QB shuffle, I guess it worked out in the end. Durant… well he was about we you can expect all season… some great plays and some plays that make you wonder if we dressed a retarded zoo animal in a Rider jersey and put him under centre (like we did for the last half of last season). The good news was that this week the good outnumbered the retarded zoo animal. What I liked the most was seeing passes over 15 yards… more than once. They play calling was somewhat imaginative. I mean how often to you see a triple reverse check down to the RB? We also managed to score in the 3rd quarter for the first time this season (as sad as that is).
Defense, was better… not great but better. We are still vulnerable to the run but not as embarrassingly vulnerable as in previous weeks. Don’t ask me how we we’re able to somewhat control perennial all-star Joffrey Reynolds but we’re unable to with the very mediocre Calvin McCarty but that’s a topic for another time. The D limited the high powered Calgary offense to only 2 TDs and a few FGs which is no small feat. Most importantly, when the game was on the line, they didn’t let Henry Burris move at all.
While it far from a perfect performance, all that matters is that we came away with a win. More importantly my hours of driving to support the team we’re rewarded with an exciting come from behind victory (normally I’m not in favour of things coming from behind… especially when they are excited but I digress) and the ability to rub it in the face of snooty Stamp fans. Not to mention I was also treated to the best mascot soccer half time show I’ve ever seen!
One last note about the game. Stampeder fans are incredibly stupid. They need the announcer/jumbo-tron to tell them when to cheer. If that happened at Mosaic I would be utterly embarrassed to call myself a fan. Its not hard... cheer loud on defense… pretty simple. Though in retrospect maybe the announcer telling them when to cheer is a good idea for Calgary because the people sitting around me kept starting a “Go Stamps Go” chant when the Stamps were on offense… so in the spirit of things I joined right in with them. Why discourage them?
As with every Rider win, there was a price to be paid. This time since we miraculously emerged from the game injury free (knock on wood), the football gods had to take a different route. As you’ve probably heard by now Scott Shultz will announce his retirement tomorrow to pursue other business opportunities.
To those of you keeping track at home we have now lost our best O-linemen to a freak accident while training in the offseason, a versatile RB/ special teams demon to an injury suffered 7 years ago and now our starting DT to a midseason business opportunity he couldn’t pass up. Seriously what’s next? Rey Williams joins a secret underground cult who are morally opposed to organized sports?*
*The Rider Prophet takes no responsibility if by some strange coincidence this comes to pass.