Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Riders Get It Done On The Road

Riders 32 – Ti-Cats 25

Coming into this game I thought we matched up well against the Ti-Cats and should in theory be able to defeat them but given that the team tends to forget to pack their talent when they go on the road I was a bit apprehensive about our ability to turn theory into reality. In theory communism works… in theory.

The way the first few series of the game went had me convinced that we were about be treated to yet another horrific road performance. First we managed to let them score their a TD so fast that I’m not sure that the anthem signer had finished saying “we stand on guard for thee” yet. Then our defense followed up by treating us to a rarity in football. They managed to stuff the Ti-Cats 3 times from the 1 (which is an amazing defensive showing) yet still manage to give up a TD because we couldn’t grasp the simple concept of lining up without your fingers going over the big line of paint (I can only assume that these same people had trouble colouring within the lines). Needless to say at that point I was pretty sure that the only way that the Riders were ever going to win outside of Mosaic again was if the team were relocated and their home games were played elsewhere.

Fortunately unlike previous games where the teams’ talent was left at home, this time the talent must have just missed the original flight and caught a later one because in the 2nd quarter something clicked and the team started to play up to their potential. Durant put on an aerial show (minus a couple ill-advised throws and that whole “fumbling when all we needed to do to win the game was not fumble” thing). Though Fantuz wasn’t the focal point of our attack (he did have an amazing one handed grab), the attention he drew from the defenders opened things up for Getzlaf, Bagg and Dressler whose TD catch was simply unbelievable. This was one of those rare football plays where Rod Black would have been right in his element. I mean a leaping circus catch into a triple barrel roll – TD combination is right up his alley. Though instead of talking about the TD he probably would have instinctually segued into a discussion of the marks to artistic merit.

To be fair, on the second Bagg TD he probably could have been called offside and he also might have got away with a tincey wincey bit of interference on the defender when he threw him to the ground. Maybe the refs were just too intimated by Bagg’s 150 man posse to penalize him for anything. Or maybe they were just fulfilling their weekly requirement of questionable calls (given how many if them there are week in and week out across the league I can only assume they have a quota).

It seems our offense has finally rediscovered the explosiveness that they started the year with.

Defense turned in a bi-polar performance. Some series they played great, such as stuffing Cobb on a 3rd down gamble or forcing 2 big forced fumbles. Some series they were so clueless that I wondered if the trainers would have to start handing out velcro cleats. But in the end, they made big plays when they needed to so hats off to them for that. The combination of Glenn being a quick release passer and missing 2 starters on the D-line definitely limited the amount of pressure we were able to generate and the later clearly affected our run D. They did a good job of limiting Arland Bruce and they pitched a shutout over the final 20+ minutes of the game, forcing 3 turnovers in that time including James Patrick finally getting an INT that counts to end the game. I’ve liked Patrick ever since he first came to the Riders so to see him now developing into one the League’s premiere safeties is a real treat.

This win just goes to show you that there are 3 ways to do things. The easy was; the hard way and the Rider way… which is really just the hard way with a few more twists, turns, profanity and angina (which explains why Man in the Bush describes his approach to his love life as the Rider way).

The win combined with an embarrassingly awesome Calgary collapse (seriously at least Durant was touched when he fumbled… what was Henry’s excuse? Low barometric pressure?) leaves us just 1 game back of first place which, considering how things looked just 2 weeks ago, is pretty awesome. This team seems to be hitting their stride as we head down the stretch which is exactly where you want to be.

Other thoughts from around the league…

- Winnipeg sure has no killer instinct. You can point to questionable reffing all you want but this team has lost so many close games that they should have won that at some point they need to start looking in the mirror for the source of their poor season so far.

- That BC/Calgary was painful to watch at times. The game pretty much went: big return by Yonus Davis, 2 and out BC, McCallum FG, Henry Burris embarrasses himself and repeat over and over and over.

- The CFL should publicly apologize to the city of Moncton for subjecting them to the Argos for 3 hours. They have to wait this long for a pro football game in the Maritimes and they get stuck watching the Argos make the brutal Esks look like a decent team

No comments: