Rider 27 – Argos 16
I know that it’s only against inferior eastern teams but you have to be happy with the Riders new found ability to win on the road. I mean I love winning at home as much as the next guy but unless Jim Hopson somehow manages to convince Mark Cohon to move the Grey Cup to Regina our inability to win on the road was going to catch up with us eventually.
The game was pretty much what I expected… the Argos pinning their slim chances for victory on Boyd and Owens and otherwise accomplishing very little. The plan seemed like it might work early in the game. Our defense was doing their best impression of a race track and letting Boyd run all over them as they showed all the tackling skills of a bunch of men who had their arms cut off and replaced with T-rex arms. Fortunately after halftime they made some adjustments and limited Boyd’s production in the second half (only 47 yds rushing in 2nd half vs. 98 in the 1st). When the D did finally learn how to contain Boyd it highlighted Toronto’s biggest weakness… the fact that everyone but Boyd is useless. Boyd ended the day with 188 total yards. The rest of the offense combined managed only 143. At this rate they might as well just institute an all-Wildcat offense. Its not like they are fooling any teams into thinking they might give the ball to someone other than Boyd.
That said I think Bell looked infinitely better than Lemon… and given Bell’s mediocre at best performance that should tell you something about Lemon’s abilities.
In stark contrast to the Cory Boyd show, was the Riders’ offense. Durant spread the ball around to everybody. The rate he was going I was waiting for Parenteau and Cetoute to get in on some passes. Durant was on top of his game, not only did he spread the ball around but he was also accurate with his throws (78% completion), made smart use of his legs (even though you could tell he didn’t really want to run that TD he just saw the defense open up and was like “Well, okay. If I have to”). Above all else he turned in a turnover free performance. It looked like he could have milked those outs on the sideline all night. Durant has taken his game to a new level ever since getting embarrassed in the Banjo Bowl. If he can keep it up it will lead to very good things down the stretch.
Three weeks ago I was harping at this team to make Fantuz the focal point of our offense. Well low and behold they do just that and Fantuz explodes for 438 yds and 2 TDs over the past 3 games. We are using him perfectly too: we are working him mainly as a possession guy underneath but torching DBs deep with him when they cheat up too much. Fantuz is well on his way to the Top Canadian award I predicted he would get in the preseason.
Our run game was no existent but that’s more a product of playing a team with a good front 7 but a vulnerable secondary. Let’s see, run Cates at a strong front 7 or pass to a wide open receiver? Hmm which should we choose? Obviously we will need to get the run going if we want to make a strong push in the playoffs but for now I’m fine with taking to the air given how well that has been going of late.
We have some things we need to improve on for the rematch this weekend (i.e. tackling Boyd, containing Owens and blocking Huntley) but overall it was a solid performance on the road for the Riders who have now won 3 straight.
Other random thoughts:
- Did anyone else have flashbacks to Schultz KO’ing Spergeon Wynn when Shologan got loose on Bell?
- I was amazed that the man we call Chunky was not only able to “leap” over someone but also bend down and pick the ball up in stride. I was just really hoping he would score. You just know he has been working on a TD celebrations for years now.
- Not that I take pleasure in opposing players punishing our guys but Boreham’s dominance over Grice Mullen is kinda funny. He’s like his Achilles heel. Another big hit and another aerial flight with a rough landing from Grice-Mullen. Lucky for the Argos that Boreham was pestering Mullen because otherwise he would have had a couple big returns.
- I know I called for a Clermont TD but I blame him for not stealing the ball from his own team mates like I said. Nice game for him though.
- I realize that it was Omarr’s ball but Morgan should have known better and just let Patrick get the pick.
- So Edmonton manages to beat Hamilton despite the fact that Tristan Jackson gave up a safety after running back into his endzone on a kick return. Ouch if you are Hamilton.
- I did have to laugh though at Jamal Johnson running behind the Eskimo bench on that kick coverage. Guess that’s one way to avoid the blockers.
I was going to post a humourous picture to end this post but since Rod Pedersen would just likely steal it for his own site and refuse to credit the source I decided against it.