Riders 27 – Eskimos – 31
I was excited to see Kitwana Jones come through the tunnel. So excited in fact that I sprinted from the parking lot up to my seat in the second deck to make sure I wouldn’t miss it. Fortunately that moment did not disappoint. He came trough the tunnel jacked up, spiked his helmet and started beaking his former team. Unfortunately, that was about the only part of the game that didn’t disappoint.
Despite what the score and late game surge might suggest, this game was over in the first half. While there were errors made in all phases of the game, the blame lies squarely on the defense. When your defense fails to force a punt in the entire first half you do not deserve to win, plain and simple.
I never realized that Donovan Alexander was such an important piece of the defense. He sits out due to injury and everything goes to crap.
I’m assuming that Gary Etcheverry does not have cable or access to a DVD player because he has evidently never seen Ricky Ray play. The methodical short passing attack that Ricky Ray has made a career out of seemed to catch Etch and his defense by surprise. For the entire first half the defense seemed content to stand around and let Ray move the ball at will. Did Etch owe Richie Hall money and see this as a way of working off his debt? I don’t pretend to be a defensive genius but having the defensive backs give a 15 yard cushion when 90% of Ray’s passes were 8 yards or less seems to make about as much sense as women’s infatuation with that grease-ball douche bag from Twilight.
Jerell Freeman looked lost out there most of the time. We still have trouble tackling consistently… check that, we have trouble tackling at all. But despite all the defensive ineptitude we were subject too, we clawed our way back into the lead and were minutes away from stealing a victory… at least until Omarr Morgan came along. Morgan actually managed to break 2 records last night… one for the longest fumble return and another for the biggest failed coverage of the season. Why on earth would you bite on an underneath route when they need to get big yards to have a chance in this game?!? Morgan’s screw up left Maurice Mann more open than Man in the Bush on a Friday night and cost us the win. Morgan had managed to work himself off my hatred list but managed to work his way back on with that disgraceful display of defense.
For the most part, those rare times the offense managed to get on the field, they played pretty decently aside from a weak running attack. My only knock against the offense was their failure to get a first down late in the game to secure a win. Show some killer instinct LaPo. We were facing the worst secondary in the league, our run game was struggling and passing game doing pretty darn good. So what does Lapo, in his infinite genius, decide to do when he needs a couple first downs to guarantee victory? Run 2 consecutive draw plays netting negative yards. Good work. If you are intent on running you should at least get some blockers in there (i.e. Szarka) and run it down their throats. If you are just going to pussy foot around waiting for Edmonton to tackle you, you might as well just bring back Henri Childs because that was his specialty.
To make matters even worse we were treated to the worst half time show I have ever seen. As if the crappy game and crappy weather weren’t enough, the Riders decided to make the game day a completely terrible experience by allowing The Special Olympics Presents Stomp to take the field. That was the worst attempt at entertainment I have ever seen… even worse then the time that the band couldn’t play because the stage was too wet so halftime was silent. The only way to salvage that weird attempt at entertainment would have been to have some sort of sacrificial burning in the middle of all those drummers.
So there you go, another disappointing performance by the most inconsistent team in the CFL. When we’re good, we look like a top team but when we’re bad we look like a junior team. We better work things out quickly because with a tight race in the west a couple more performances like this could land us with a playoff date in Hamilton.