Riders 26 – Stamps 34
While all the talk heading into this game surrounded Henry Burris and his affinity for women’s lingerie, turns out it was the Riders who had the bigger collection of useless boobs on Sunday.
The game started out as good as could be expected as the Riders built up a 14-0 lead in the first 7 minutes. Everything looked to be going our way. The offense was clicking and Burris was folding like a football franchise in Ottawa under the pressure. Unfortunately, that was as good as things got for the Riders and the ensuing 53 minutes of the game were difficult to endure for a number of reasons. Poor play, poor coaching, gruesome injuries and slowly watching our chance at first place slip away to the team that I hate more than any other football franchise.
Before I get into the negatives I would like to make mention of the few positives that there were in this game. Chris Getzlaf had a monster game (as he always seems to do against the Stamps). He has quietly put himself in a position to crack the 1000 yd mark. Hats off to him. Eddie Johnson’s Kid Correspondent interview was simply outstanding. The man may have a future in comedy once his playing career comes to an end. James Patrick continues to make plays and is arguably the top safety in the league at this point. I never tire of the Narco Dance. The camera people finally decided to put the Rider Prophet on the big screen for everyone to see.
Now for the negatives…
On both sides of the ball our futility when it comes to the ground game continues to be a major problem. The D let Reynolds run all over them. He logged 124 yards. 75 of came in the 4th quarter. This is the 3rd week in a row where we have been repeatedly torched along the ground. It might be time to consider doing something about it because this whole “offering about as much resistance as the French army” thing isn’t really working for us.
Compounding our lack of ruin stopping is our complete and utter inability to tackle. Our defenders are bouncing off people like they were teenagers in a mosh pit. Well I hate to break it them but this isn’t a freaking April Wine concert (who I assume still maintain unprecedented popularity among young people), this is a pro football game. So you might want to try wrapping up once in a while. Had we done so we could have reduced the yards the Stamps gained on us by 30-40%... and that is being conservative.
Sean Lucas is playing absolutely terrible this year. His is rarely in position to make a play until after the first down has been gained and when he is, he misses the tackle. Omarr Morgan is also firmly implanted on my hatred list. I never want to see our players get hurt but Morgan sitting out may just improve our defense (certainly can’t make things worse). Lastly, can someone please tell Leron Mitchell that he needs to give a slightly smaller cushion than the 40 yds he currently grants the people he is covering?
While the defense certainly had a bad game and has lots of things they need to improve on, I will not hang the defeat on them. Despite playing poorly for the 2nd and 3rd quarter, they made plays when it counted. They forced two huge 4th quarter turnovers. Getting the ball back to our offense for a chance to win the game. You know how our offense responded? 3 and out the first time and gave up a TD the second time. That’s right we somehow managed to get -7 points off turnovers. That’s not the D’s fault.
Our run game is complete joke. We rarely run and when we do it’s always up the middle for 1-2 yards. And what happens when you can’t run? That’s right, the defense intensifies their pass rush and wreaks havoc on our QB. Our entire offense disappeared at half time and never showed back up until late in the 4th. You simply can’t have that kind of inconsistent production and expect to win against one of the best teams in the league.
Lastly its time for our weekly instalment of “Reasons Jim Daley Should Be Fired”. Our special teams used to be comically inept… but when our gaffes on special teams lead to a horrendous looking injury to our place-kicker things stop being funny. This week Daley’s accomplishments include a costly blocked FG that was the turning point in the game, costly penalties on kick coverage and of course the standard poor kick returns. There was a play where Grice-Mullen made 3 people miss and still only gained a yard or 2. He was only 9 more jukes away from maybe breaking it. A consistent pattern of failure has to be pinned on the coach at some point. Yet we remain convinced that the status quo will eventually start working and Daley is the answer. Open your freaking eyes Miller and Taman!! This is getting ridiculous. If repeated failure is considered acceptable by our management then we might as well just bring back Michael Bishop at QB, James Johnson at CB and replace Coke-a-Cola Classic with New Coke at the concession stands because that makes about as much sense.
Other random thoughts…
- Why did we keep declining penalties rather than pushing the Stamps back? Declining a 10 yard penalty on 1st and 10 was a head scratching coaching error. The way our defense was tackling we needed the extra room to bring down the ball carrier.
- I know the Stamps were keying on Fantuz but I highly doubt that the defense scheme they were using on him was so unbelievably perfect that it could not be overcome with a little creativity. We can’t just allow teams to eliminate our best receiver.
- Durant needs to learn to find a hot route when he gets blitzed. For all the good things he brings to the table as a QB, this is one glaring weakness in his game.
The sad thing is we were outplayed for all but the 1st quarter and still had a chance to win against an elite team. If we could ever play consistently in all 3 phases of the game we would dominate. But woulda and coulda don’t win games. We are a talented team and I remain confident that we will get another shot at the Stamps in November and that we exact revenge. It’s weird being disappointed about a 2nd place finish when for many years we would have been ecstatic over squeaking into the playoffs.As disappointing a week as it was for Rider we can always take solace that it could be worse. At least we are competent enough to fill out our 46 man roster accurately and submit it... unlike BC who wanted to play McCallum but neglected to add his to their game day roster so they were forced to go with Sean Whyte at the last minute. Whyte was so unprepared that he had to borrow McCallum’s shoulder pads. Good work Wally! As I said… things could always be worse