Riders 30 – Stamps 36
***Just a note: I haven’t looked at or read anything related to the Riders since the game ended. Its part of a self imposed cooling down period that I tend to need after playoff loses. So if something noteworthy happened or was said post-game, I’m currently oblivious to it***
God damn Riders just have to find a way to make the finish the most exciting/stressful rollercoaster ride!! There goes another few years off my lifespan. Also when Prophet Jr. has a full vocabulary of curse words by the time he’s 3, Rider football will be to blame.
The end may have been more disappointing than expected and the loss may have come a week earlier than expected (even in the preseason I predicted we’d make it to the West Final) but I think we need to be honest with ourselves and admit that this team was not going to win a Grey Cup.
A lot will be made of the Romby Bryant TD (and believe me I’m sure the entire block heard me screaming when it happened and by screaming I mean cursing like a sailor) but to say that one play was the reason we lost the game is simply not true. We lost for the same reason we lost many games this season... we could not play a full 60 minutes in all 3 phases of the game. There were times when the defense was playing outstanding and times when they appeared to be going out of their way to lose the game. There were times when the offense was moving the ball and scoring with ease and times when they couldn’t get back the heater on the bench fast enough. You can’t expect to beat a team as good as the Stamps with that kind of spotty and sporadic play. Had we played like we showed we can all game on both sides we would have won.
Our offensive production is actually pretty remarkable when you consider that they only tried for like 11 minutes in the entire game. They didn’t bother showing up until there were 2 minutes left in the first half. They then proceeded to make it a game and the poof, disappear until there were 9 minutes left in the game. Despite that ridiculously half assed performance they still notched 4 TDs and over 400 yards passing. Imagine if they had actually performed at a couple key times... you know like the 1st or 3rd quarter!
Defense started out great then for some inexplicable reason decided to hand the Stamps their first TD with repeated penalties and a second one passed on just poor play. The icing on the cake though was how they found a way to completely negate any momentum we gained with TDs late in the 2nd and 4th Q. The first time they casually let Jon Cornish saunter into FG range like he had SARS and actually tackling him would lead to disease. The second time of course they gave up a back breaking long bomb to Bryant that sealed our fate. Our O didn’t have a great game but they did make plays. But every time they did the D found a way to negate their effort. Again gotta play 60 full minutes... not spot duty here and there.
Other random things I feel the need to comment on:
Darian Durant – Didn’t play a perfect game but at least he showed the ability to put up points when it counts. When his line game him time he made plays. Could he have played better? Yes. But at 400 yds and 4 TDs he did a lot more to help us win than he did to help us lose.
Chris Getzlaf – What a useless sack of garbage he has regressed into! Why we even bothered attempting passes in his direction is beyond me. Nothing good ever comes from it. We are paying him $120,000 which is steep for a #2 WR and he can’t even be a competent #3 anymore. Not sure what happened to the Getz that used to be good but he better rediscover it and fast.
Taj Smith – I take back most of the bad things I ever said about him. He’s been playing great over the past few games.
Greg Carr – Why in the blue hell did we wait this long to figure out how to use a big tall WR?!?!? He finally became useful just in time to pack his locker up. Glad we finally clued into the simple concept up throw it up and let the big man make a play in the endzone.
Kory Sheets – The guy is a ridiculous playmaker. Its poor game planning that he only had 10 touches. He made plays on every touch.
Blocked Convert – When a crazy, once in 50 year type of screw-up happens why does it always, always have to be the Riders? Hats off to JT O’Sullivan at being so shocked and confused over what happened to even move.
Tearrius George Headbutt – OK let me preface this by saying it was a dirty hit and George will (and should be) fined. If we were pissed over the Isaac hit on Durant we have to be fair and admit that what George did was just as bad. That said the form he showed on that was awesome. It was reminiscent of Zinedine Zidane... or a rhinoceros charging someone. Just arms back and face first. Bam!
And thus ends 2012. As disappointing as this loss is, I truly believe this is a team headed in the right direction which is a great feeling considering where we were at this point last year. We still have work to do but we have a young team and better days are ahead.
I’ll have more thoughts on this season and the changes needed for next season later in the week.