Riders 24 – Eskimos 20
Well that game was a lot like picking up an ugly hooker. You kind of regretted paying that much for something that was so ugly to watch and really wasn’t that good but it did have a happy ending so in the end it turned out to be alright… though its nothing to brag about to your friends.
Even though it wasn’t the greatest game to watch, I’ll give the Riders credit for a hard fought win. Things won’t always be easy or pretty so it’s good to know we can win the ugly ones when need be.
I thought our defense did a great job of containing Arkee Whitlock and Kelly Campbell. Unfortunately in doing that they decided to let Fred Stamps saunter around the field at will. I realize that some of his receptions were just really good catches in coverage but other times Stamps was so open it wondered if people thought he had SARS the way they were avoiding him. I’d like to know what was going through our DBs’ minds when they decided it would be better to ensure Andrew Norwacki was in blanket coverage as opposed to Stamps.
Huge props out to Chunky on a great game and Tad Kornegay who stepped up big time in the 2nd half and ultimately forcing a game changing fumble. The D allowed the Esks to move the ball quite a bit but true to the aggressive style of Etch they attacked the ball forcing 2 huge fumbles when it mattered most and not allowing a point in the 4th quarter.
Don’t look now but Mike McCullough currently shares the team lead in sacks.
Offensively, you have got to like our ground game. If you take away that long run, Cates didn’t have a great day but he’s still performing well beyond most expectations. The use of Hugh Charles as a change of pace is working great. Him and Cates compliment each other well and give us versatility at RB. When you factor in the yards Durant chews up, the fact the Szarka can still move the chains and the reverses our receivers run (which for the record was an insanely ballsy call) you have a pretty solid running attack. Plus any game that features a celebratory flip is always a good one in my books. Passing game was hit and miss but it came through when it mattered most. With Durant at the helm I’m always confident that we are never out of reach.
Prechae Rodriguez continues to irritate me. I have always said that he is overrated but he clearly has the skills to be an elite receiver… as evidenced by the YAC yards he chewed up on his lone reception. But despite his skills and obvious physical advantages he still plays with all the toughness and aggressiveness of a male fashion designer… as evidenced by his unwillingness to expose himself to contact by going over the middle for a ball. He’s a wussy who also strikes me as lazy. Lack of effort bugs me more than lack of skill.
Another thing that bugs me is the play of our special teams. I know it’s shocking that a group coached by perennial failure Jim Daley is not performing well but that seems to be the case. Luca Congi gets a pass this week because he kicked well (including booming that 54 yarder). Sakoda just looked lost out there. His kickoffs were fine but his punting made Luca Congi look like Jon Ryan by comparison. I’m not sure if he developed amnesia between last year and this year but he doesn’t even look like the same guy.
Dorsey is another guy not earning his keep. We are paying him an awful lot for the right to watch him screw up. The lack of big returns don’t bother me as much since the blocking he has been receiving is nowhere near adequate but watching him give up on a ball that ultimately bounced out inside the 10 and then watching him mishandle a kick that bounced out at the 2 is infuriating. This is a former Special Teams Player of the Year who is making a 6 figure salary but is honestly making me yearn for the days of James Johnson as our kick returner. His Dance Dance Revolution impression never got any yards but at least he could catch the ball. I don’t care how much money Taman stupidly spent on the guy, if he doesn’t step it up soon he needs to be benched.
Despite what the unusually large amount of rants above might indicate, a win's a win and it doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you come away with 2 points. It may not have been pretty but we are still undefeated. This team showed yet again that it never gives up and will fight tooth and nail until the time expires. That kind of attitude should lead to a lot more wins this season.
Around the league…
- So who had the middle of game 3 in the Buck Pierce injury pool? Oh wait… I did. I predicted Pierce would last 2.5 games before succumbing to injury. I was little bit under but if this were Price Is Right I would have been the closest to the actual amount without going over so I’ll count it as a win. I will now pause for a moment of silence in memory of Bob Barker… actually, on further investigation turns out he’s not dead yet. My bad. Seriously though is anybody at all (Paul LaPolice included) surprised by this?
- Montreal has now managed to lose despite putting up 51 points and win despite failing to score touchdown. That’s pretty amazing.
- The way Henry Burris is throwing picks you’d think it was the postseason already. Needless to say the normally potent Stampeder offense doesn’t really scare me this week.