Riders 43 – Stamps 37
Well we wondered about the Riders would respond after an embarrassing defeat... and based on how the first series went it looked as though the pitchforks and torches might be soon broken out. Fortunately the first play was not indicative of how the rest of the game would go... well except for maybe the last play of regulation but I will get to that in a bit.
I was impressed with how well the team stepped up against the top team in the league. I mean sure seeing how well they can play did make the loses to Edmonton and Winnipeg that much more unbelievable but let’s focus on the positive for now. After looking like a bunch of wimpy 7 year olds for the past couple weeks I thought the O-line played well. They weren’t perfect but at least they managed to give Durant a bit of time. Speaking of Durant he sure looked like the all-star QB we had become accustom to. When he took a big hit on a run at the end of the first Q to fight for extra yards you knew he was tuned in for this game. He used his legs well and spread the ball around pretty well.
Do you see what happens when we make Fantuz the focal point of our offense?? The man is a monster! If we had been using him like that before we would likely have had a more productive offense. Also, and this should come as no surprise to anyone, Clermont still good for more than just selling condos. He made some clutch catches. Also though I find it a bit excessive for a team that only runs their RB 10 times a game to have a change of pace back, it seemed to work out pretty well. That was a nice cut by Charles and an even nicer back flip. I don`t know where this explosive offense has been for the past month or so but hopefully it is here to stay.
I have no idea what the refs were looking at on that long pass that Dressler almost caught on the defenders back but the fact that they were too blind to call pass interference on that is ridiculous. Apparently the rules have recently changed so that its okay for a defender not to turn and look at the ball or make any attempt to make a play on it. It’s apparently okay to just have your back to the ball the entire time and screen the intended receiver... or at least its okay for Stampeders to do that. Ridiculous!
Defense had another good game despite having to endure a number of injuries. We contained Joffrey Reynolds and didn`t allow Burris to use his legs which is the key to beating the Stamps` O. James Patrick is now leading the league in INTs as well as spectacular INTs that end up getting called back. Poor guy.
This brings us of course to the infamous ``punt``. There seems to be two schools of thought on the controversial decision to punt for the win rather than attempt a 35 yard FG. On one side there is our coaching staff who feel that it was the right decision. On the other side there is me and the rest of the sane world. Seriously that was a dumb decision plain and simple. I wonder how that conversation went on the sidelines. I can just imagine Coach Miller going to Congi, "Luca, the game is on the line. How`s the leg feeling?" "Great Coach!" "Excellent! Go run over and tell Eddie Johnson he`s punting for the win."
While I realize that Miller may know a bit more about football than me. I will give you 2 pieces of information that illustrate just how ridiculous his decision was. 1) Luca has not missed a FG attempt from inside 40 this year. *** EDIT: Apparently he missed one last week. I guess I have subconsciously removed that game from my memory.*** 2)Eddie Johnson`s punt have averaged 43.4 yards. Meaning that the majority of his punts fall well short of the distance he needed to seal the game. If you don`t have complete faith in your kicker to hit a FG from 35 yds then you`d better be looking for a new kicker. That is a huge slap in the face of Congi. And given that he`s Italian that is likely to end up with a mob hit on you... or a horse head in your bed (if movies have taught me anything).
Fortunately the team was able to overcome the monumental gaff and win a thriller in OT. It was a great team effort against the top team in the league. We remain undefeated at home which is a good sign given that the Stamps have to come here one more time. The real test will be if we can sustain this type of performance on the road where we have struggled all year. For now though, hats off to the team on a great performance!