Riders 29 – Bombers 14
Like most Canadians the Rider Prophet celebrated Labour Day by not performing any labour whatsoever (the irony is not lost on me). So even though it’s no longer Monday or even morning for that matter here’s a belated edition of Monday Morning Sentimonies…
I knew the Bombers were a brutal football team but I assumed they were intelligent enough to get through the coin toss before their first screw-up of the game. Evidently I gave them way too much credit. I was actually hoping that Mike Kelly would throw the challenge flag and ask for the first ever video review of a coin toss.
My game ball goes to Michael Bishop who went out there and did what he does best… serve up INTs in groups of 3. I knew you had it in you Bishop. It’s wonderful to finally be able to benefit from his failures (it’s also a lot easier on my blood pressure). Although I thoroughly enjoyed his on field performance, it’s what was occurring on the sidelines that absolutely made my day. In an effort to try and accommodate Bishop’s mental retardation, the coaches have started using giant whiteboards with numbers on them to signal in the play calls to him from the sideline. It’s hilarious to watch mainly because most peewee teams wouldn’t need to sink that low. But then again if there was ever someone who could redefine stupidity at the QB position, Bishop is that man.
While Bishop certainly did his part to secure the loss, he wasn’t the only former Rider whose shortcomings finally benefited the green and white. Steve Morley and Glenn January (and the O-line in general for that matter) were completely overpowered by the dynamic duo of the Pigeon Toed Wonder and his partner Captain Diabetes (aka Baggs and Chick). I guess it should come as no surprise that 2 lineman not skilled enough to start for the Riders couldn’t hold their own against our starters. The worst was when the Bombers were on our 1 yard line at the end of the first half and their O-line was so porous that Mullinder and Chick managed to get into the backfield with relative ease.
The defense as a whole did exactly what they needed to do - give Fred Reid zero room to move. In addition to our line getting consistent pressure, we also used James Patrick very effectively to add extra pressure. Patrick was actually more useful in his safety blitzes on Sunday than his predecessor was on all his career “blitzes” combined. And how about Tad Kornegay… he had a huge game.
Memo to Mike Kelly: When we run WR reverses they work because we use a lightning fast receiver (Dressler). When you run the same reverses they net you negative yards because you use Brock Ralph (who has not previously, nor will he ever be, described as lightning fast). Seriously, why not just run the reverse to Oosterhuis, at least he'd be harder to bring down.
Offensively, I thought Durant played really well. He came out and organized 2 nice TD drives into the wind and other than that INT, which looked like it slipped out of his hand, controlled the ball well. I am now firmly on the Rob Bagg bandwagon. He is awesome and deservedly becoming a bigger part of our offense with each passing week. How this guy went undrafted is beyond me. When you consider that it cost us a high draft pick for the privilege of having David McKoy occupy our injury list, Bagg is a complete steal. Another big factor in the effectiveness of our offense was the yards chewed up by Wes Cates (160 total yards).
Message to the Riders coaching staff: We are now undefeated when we score in the 3rd quarter… you should try doing it more often.
Despite my skepticism I have to admit that Armstead looked okay out there. He was by no means outstanding but he at least looks to be an improvement at that spot. To be fair though, he was the beneficiary of a favourable scheme. While we usually attempt to block punts at the expense of blocking for our returner, this week we made no attempt to block the kick and had everyone drop back and block for Armstead. So while our returns were a bit better it wasn’t all Armstead’s doing.
One last note: Could they have found 3 stupider people to compete for 25 stacks at half time? Seriously, most pre school children could assemble a 12 piece puzzle in under 5 minutes, why couldn’t those competitors? The only way that half time show could have been worse is if Michael Bishop was a contestant… Stephan LeFors could have used his whiteboard to send instructions in from the sideline, but Bishop would still probably lose as a result of a piece or two ending up in his opponent's possession.
All in all it was a great game and a great long weekend. The only disappointment for me was that James Johnson wasn’t healthy enough to embarrass himself on the field. Hopefully we can maintain this momentum as we get ready for the Banjo Bowl.
Around the CFL…
How ridiculous was the end to the BC/Montreal game?! I’ve witnessed a lot of head scratching errors in officiating over the years but that one has to rank up there among the worst of them. Montreal gets their game tying TD called back because the clock wasn’t right?! Give me a break! Generally a team gets penalized for something someone on their team did. In this case, Montreal got screwed out of a legit TD because of something the timekeeper (who is from BC) did. Ridiculous! True to their Quebec roots, due to the unfair treatment the Als received from the west, they are now threatening to separate from the CFL and form their own system of officiating.