Riders 17 – BC 23
It’s amazing how much easier loses are to take when you see them coming a mile away. I as big a Rider as there is and rarely expect us to lose but before the Riders had even boarded the plane this week, I could tell another loss was in store. As I said, the Lions cared… we didn’t. That was painfully obvious in how both teams played and what the final score was.
Despite the fact that we lost and continued to struggle in a couple key areas there were some positives things that happened in the game.
- Durant’s mobility seems to have returned. He was rolling out and fair bit and took off on a couple of occasions for decent gains.
- Fantuz was once again highly productive. He’s our best receiver so it’s reassuring to see him do something again after disappearing over the last couple games.
- We stopped the run! I realize that BC doesn’t run a whole lot compared to other teams but after over a month of getting run over like a slow moving gopher on a prairie road… it was nice to see that we are at least capable of stopping the run.
- Cary Koch. The man has played himself into a starter’s role and deserves to stay there for the remainder of the season. I like the cut of his jib.
- Jerrell Freeman. I thought he played a good game.
- Joel Bell’s hustle in forcing that fumble after Ryan Phillips got an INT. Even better was how it bounced perfectly off the BC defenders foot into Fantuz’s possession.
- According to the CFL’s “official” stats, Donovan Alexander when 1 for 1 in passing for 7 yards. It’s been a rough year for him on defense so it’s nice to see him get a chance to contribute in different ways.
- Seriously, did anyone see this? … Okay let me re-phrase that. Did anyone see this who wasn’t experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs?
Normally, the accomplishments listed above would be great news and make me feel pretty good about our team headed into the playoffs. However, for all the positives there were at least 2 negatives to offset them. In no particular order they were…
- Durant’s piss poor decision making. For as much as we rag on Henry Burris for his Good Hank – Bad Hank split personality, I think if we are being fair, we need to also start ragging on Durant for Good Darian - Bad Darian. At his best, he looks like an elite franchise QB. At his worst he is tossing shovel passes to opposing D-lineman without even noticing that his receiver was nowhere even remotely close to where he was throwing. Did he just close his eyes and assume the play would develop exactly as it was drawn up?
- Double D’s tendency for throwing picks was something we could live when we he was being productive and putting more points on the board. But now that he’s struggling to be productive and heaving up tons of INTs it is a major problem.
- On that first INT did anyone else notice Durant’s spot on imitation of Ron Lancaster? He was slowly but steadily back peddling while standing straight up. I haven’t seen too many people other than the Little General use that technique. I also haven’t seen it used for many decades... and for good reason.
- Why did we play our starting QB for the full 60 minutes of a meaningless game? Sure a win would have been nice but it definitely wasn’t worth the risk.
- Grease-Mullen fumbles yet again. Since we all know that the odds of us actually getting a sizeable return are on par with the odds of the Argos, Raptors, Leafs and Blue Jays all winning the league championship in their respective sports in the same year, could we at least field a returner who doesn’t play like his hands are coated in astro-glide.
- In what was likely the least shocking occurrence on Sunday, the Riders committed yet another special teams gaffe then ended up in a TD and also ended up being the difference in the game. It’s a sad day when you long for the adequate Special Teams of Alex Smith that I cursed for so many years.
- We learned that having 11 defenders on the field while in the redzone is likely to lead to giving up a TD. Hmm… who would have thought?
Not that we ever needed more evidence of the supreme idiocy of Danny Maccioccia but I’ll submit one more just for fun. Maccioccia used his 2nd overall pick of the 2006 draft to select a kicker by the name of Warren Kean. Four years later Kean has been cut by 3 CFL teams and odds are good it will soon be 4 after he came up short on a 39 yard attempt. You could tell the kick was wide off his foot but it wasn’t until the ball landed that it became obviously just how bad that kick was. This was the guy that Maccioccia thought was the 2nd best player in Canada.
I thought the purpose of having a central command booth to handle all video replays was to ensure accuracy and consistency with rulings. Well at least they are getting the consistency part right. Problem is that they are consistently bad. On that onside kick attempt, despite clear evidence that James Patrick touched the ball and knocked it out of bounds they still ruled that it was BC’s ball. Unbelievable!!
On that note, was everyone as confused as me when they saw us line up for an onside kick and had Fantuz and Dressler as the kickers? We dressed 2 kickers for the game and yet when it comes down to an important kick we send out our 2 best receivers. Interesting to say the least. Though I guess given how bad Kean looked on his first FG attempt it’s hard to fault the coaches for not trusting him plus I’m not sure Eddie Johnson is physically capable of kicking short (there’s just too much power contained in his leg). Besides that was a damn nice kick by Fantuz!It was another meaningless game so I won’t get too bent out of shape about the end result but I’d be lying if I said I’m not somewhat concerned about our repeated major screw ups in key area of the game… like you know passing and special teams. Our team is too talented to be written off already as some are doing but there is a consistent trend of failure developing and I don’t think the team can just flip the switch to “good” come November 14th. The team has one more game to get their act together. It will be interesting to see how they respond to this adversity in front of the home crowd