Riders 27 – BC 21
This is why I love night games! The crowd is louder, the intensity is off the charts, it just has a completely different feel. Fortunately that translated into some incredible play on the field and a win over the heavily favoured Lions. Mosaic was rocking and it was an outstanding atmosphere start to finish.
What a great effort on both sides of the ball. Offensively we made the best defense in the league look very mediocre and defensively we held a potent offense in check (well at least for all but 2 drives late in the game). As always seems to be the case against BC, the Riders found a way to give me chest pains at the end but still it was an impressive team effort.
You certainly would not have known we were missing 4 defensive starters based on how they played. They came out fired up and completely shut down Lulay for 3 quarters. Lulay had 88 yards passing, no TDs and one of the dumbest picks I have ever seen (and I’ve seen Michael Bishop play) through 3 quarters. We may not have gotten any sacks but the D-line harassed him all night long and we got a lot of solid hits on him due some some well timed blitzes. Sure they let up in the 4th quarter for 2 drives that let BC make it close but the first one was a really long drive that ate up a ton of clock so that one really didn’t bother me. Hell we held BC without a TD until 3 minutes left in the game, that’s impressive! The 3 play drive where they carved through us like a Thanksgiving turkey did bother me but other than that it was a great defensive effort.
Offensively, I can’t believe I’m saying this but I really liked our offensive game plan. BC is the best in the league and we had them on their heels for most of the game. They just couldn’t figure us out. Loved how we picked remorselessly on Cauchy Muamba who is clearly the weak link back there. I was shocked that a DC as smart as Stubler had such an awful game plan. We have one receiver: Dressler. Any idiot DC should be able to figure out he should be doubled or even tripled (not like Scott McHenry will burn you deep) but there were times where Dressler was WIDE open! He was a monster racking up the yards, TDs and flattening Adam Bighill for good measure. This is what happens when you lean on your best receiver. Also loved the run game. BC had been averaging a microscopic 70 yards rushing allowed per game, Sheets rolled over them for 100 (including a game sealing first round where everyone in the park knew he was getting it) . Huge, huge game for the O-line: 1 sack allowed, tons of time for Durant to do his thing and 100 yard rusher to boot. The hoggies earned their paycheck on Saturday.
If this is how good Durant can be without running just imagine how dangerous we can be when he starts running again. Shame about Sanders’ knee (which looked ugly) he has been such a huge playmaker for us. We struggled in the second half a bit but 27 points against the top D is good enough for me.
I have been saying this all season but look at how well the O works when you do the right things. Mix up the play calls, take shots deep to open up the coverage undernearth, lean on your top playmakers (Sheets and Dressler), protect the QB. We proved it works against the best D in the league, so if we can keep it up good things will continue to happen against other teams.
I feel the need to comment on the onside kick debacle. How in the hell is Taj Smith included on our hands team?!? He has no hands, might as well just have put Xavier Fulton out there he is also tall with questionable receiving skills. BC recognized this immediately and kicked directly at him. Predictable he failed miserably at handling the ball could have cost us the game... he did cost my lifespan a couple years. His attempt at fielding the onside kick looked more like an air traffic controller trying to direct the ball out of bounds with hand gestures.
Scary finish aside, it was a hell of game. Great play on both sides of the ball. Huge win against a division rival who happens to be the best in the CFL. Electric atmosphere. The team has given the fans a huge reason for hope. We just beat the 2 teams ahead of us in the standings in consecutive weeks. Buckle up because the last month of the season is going to be a wild ride.
Other random thoughts:
- On that opening kickoff reverse it was nice of Lions to reverse it right into our cover teams... they would have gotten a way better return if they just held it.
- We threw to Scott McHenry 3 times: the first was a 9 yard gain on 2nd and long, the second was picked off, the third should have been picked off. Memo to Bob Dyce, we should probably take that play out of the playbook.
- That said, loved Neal Hughes leveling Byron Parker on that third one!
- Terrible play by Willy fumbling that 3rd down plunge, gotta secure the ball!
- The fact that BC only has 4 loses is not surprising... the fact that we account for half of those is.
- That was some carnage on the Collins/Bruce collision!
- Have we seriously given up putting effort into our halftime shows? Are we just offering it up on a first come first serve basis? If so I would like to submit my application. It would probably just be me playing solitaire at mid-field but it would a remarkable improvement over every halftime show except the Sheepdogs and the actual dogs.