Riders 54 – Alouettes 51
It has now been 4 days since the Riders opened the 2010 season with a dramatic come from behind double OT victory over the Als and my body is only now starting to recover from the emotional beating the game took on it. Thursday’s season opener was certainly an exciting way to kickoff the new season.
The emotional rollercoaster that the fans endured was unbelievable. The surprising INT on the Calvillo’s first pass attempt had me convinced we were going to win. The remainder of the 2nd half and the start of the 3rdthat followed had me convinced of just the opposite. But as has happened countless times in the past, the Riders mounted an improbable comeback to force OT. The deciding series featured some unbelievable catches and some unbelievable stupidity culminating in a game winning TD pass from Durant to Dressler. There were some amazing plays in that game and it was something else to witness its all.
The offense came as advertised… packed with more firepower than Gilbert Arenas. It took awhile for them to start clicking but once they did it was a thing of beauty. Durant lived up to the high expectations placed on him this season. He read the field well, made good decisions and was his usual calm self in the face of adversity. After not seeing him play in a long time, I had forgotten how unbelievably talented Weston Dressler is. Even Wes Cates had a surprisingly good performance. I had to do a double look when I saw #20 rattle off a big run. Maybe he’s not as washed up as we all thought.
Defense was … well it was what I expected… a work in progress. Anytime your defense gives up over 40 points you can’t be happy with their performance. You especially can’t be happy when Kitwana Jones playing at DT is legitimately your best pass rusher. Donovan Alexander’s ass probably hurt like hell Friday morning because he was repeatedly raped by Montreal. He recovered with a nice stop in OT but it wasn’t a night to be proud of. The good news is that a) that is hands down the best receiving unit in the league and b) Alexander is young and should be able to learn from his mistakes. I thought our run D was pretty decent. Our front 4 wasn’t great but then again Calvillo is a tough QB to get pressure on in the first place due to his quick release. I expect our defense to steadily improve week by week. With the firepower in our offense, even a half decent performance by our D should lead to a lot of victories in our future.
I still can’t believe that of all the penalties in the rule book, we had to take a Too Many Men with the game on the line. Offside would have angered me. Pass Interference would maybe have enticed me to curse mildly. But too many f’n men?!?!?!? Well that led to a period of stunned silence followed by a profanity filled tirade wasn’t suitable for any child to hear… thing is that penalty angered the crowd so much that I’m pretty sure even young children were swearing right along with me. How the hell can our team manage to grasp the complexity of our playbook and the intricacies of Etch’s ridiculous schemes but the simple act of counting is beyond us?!? This is unbelievable. 13 one play… 11 a couple plays later. What is so hard about 12?
Well being the ever helpful guy that I am, I’m personally volunteering my services to the Riders to help get over this math problem that most pre-schoolers wouldn’t have an issue with. First, the team needs to take a lesson from the world of professional wrestling and institute a system whereby you have to tag in and out of the contest. You don’t tag somebody, you’re not allowed on the field. I have also produced this instructional video to help the team learn how to count to 12.
We won in amazing fashion against the toughest opponent in the league, so I will try not to dwell on the negatives. We have some things to work on but we also have a lot of reasons to be excited about the next 17 games. The team rallied and did what they needed to do to win and in the end that is all we should care about.