Riders 32 – Ti-Cats 20
Pfft only 30 offensive points with the back-up QB? And here I thought we had a good offense?
Since the concept of sarcasm is lost on so many people and at times difficult to convey over the interwebs, I would like to state clearly that my opening statement was sarcasm. Because honestly outside of that I’m hard pressed to come up with something to complain about this team. We are undefeated, our offense had its worst performance of the season and still put up 30 points… with the back-up QB, the defense decimated the opposition for 7 sacks and 2 fumbles and held the opponents to just 3 second half points… despite missing 3 starters in the secondary. When you look across the board at our roster, you have to be happy with pretty much everything you see… except maybe Dan Clark who obviously got lazy after his TD and quit pulling his weight on offense.
Drew Willy looked like a completely different QB than I saw last year. Where last season he had happy feet and looked to run a lot when the first read wasn’t there, Saturday we saw him poised in the pocket, making his reads and throwing like he was a seasoned vet. Sure he made some bad throws and some bad reads but all things considered I was very impressed. What I really liked was the fact that we didn’t change our offense just because Durant was out. The Ti-Cats (as I said) focused on the run so we continued slinging the ball downfield.
Willy got a lot of help from Geroy Simon who picked one hell of a time to make his first real impact on this team. As vocal as I have been about Simon not being worth what we are paying him, for one game at least, he proved he can still be of value.
Defense got blindsided initially by the Ti-Cats being not just useful but very effective on O… hard to blame them as who really saw that coming? But it seemed once our offense started showing signs of life the defense kicked it into high gear and helped Henry do what he does best (at least on the field)… turn the ball over multiple times. D-line brought pressure to help compensate for a secondary that looked like it was missing some starters.
For me there was a series of events that defined both teams’ seasons for far:
For the Riders it was the tackle by Rey Williams on the 1 saving a sure TD, followed by a goal line stuff, followed by a bomb from Willy to Simon to get us out of the shadow of our goal post. (Wish I actually could have seen that go down, thank you very much shitty Guelph telecommunications infrastructure… though to be fair when was the last time anyone was interested in what was going on in Guelph?)
For the Ti-Cats the defining series was the blatant drop by Onrea Jones that he let the team challenge (and they somehow imagined conclusive evidence of a catch) which was followed by them being forced to burn a time out before the next play due to confusion on the field. Good teams rise to up the challenges they face and bad teams create their own challenges.
So the Riders head into a very oddly timed bye week with a perfect record and a blossoming reputation for finding new ways to win on both sides of the ball each week. What offensive weapon do you game plan against? We have 5 receivers who have put up 100 yard games already. We have scored a TD with pretty much every offensive player not on IR. Our defense is relentless and suffocating, particularly in the 2nd half… and that is without 3 starting DBs. And our special teams have been outstanding. We are excelling in all 3 phases.
As much as this Rider-less bye week will be excruciatingly painful to us fans, it will be a good chance for the team to get healthy and ready to continue our dominating start to the season.
Other random thoughts:
- I never thought I’d run out of things to say about an RB going over 130 yards in a game. Sheets has pretty much made that ordinary.
- Helps when our very well paid OL starts playing like they are worth every penny.
- I know personnel play into it but you gotta think our improved play in the trenches is due in part to our new OL and DL coaches. Last year our all-star laden OL underperformed too often under Coach Sweet and I’d was never sold on Mike Walker being any good.
- Would not surprise me to see Steinhauer fined over his hit on Lamar.
- Russ showed why he was the odd DB out in training camp. Rough day for him. That said for an emergency fill in off the streets he was at least serviceable.
- Speaking of showing why, Hilee Taylor showed why he worked his way onto the roster while Will Davis wound up unemployed.
- Reminder that if you want to show your support for our hero of a back-up QB, the I Heart Willy T-Shirt is still available in the Rider Prophet store.
Nice to read your weekly comments, as always. But don't you feel the Rider pass defense remains suspect at important times? It's almost embarrassing attempting to complain about anything when the team is undefeated, yet it's hard not to comment about the pass defense stats so far this season. They are not flattering.
In this game you mention Russ, but I think unfairly. For every play he may have not made, I see two that Anderson never made. Missing starters? Maze? Isn't he the guy that got burned on the last play of Riders' 2012 season? Thomas? Has he proven anything yet? To me, it's only Harris that looks golden...but he's not started enough games to say he's all-star material. Actually, I don't mean to be critical of any of the DBs...I just think that everyone who singles out Russ as a weak link is not looking at the whole unit with equal criticism. Russ has made some great plays. It's going to be a good test against Calgary. As a group they will have to pick up their game.
In the end, though...it's all about the trenches. In particular, our O-line is dominating. We win when they win.
Go Riders, Go!
I agree that they are giving up a ton of yards but so far they aren't allowing many points (so far). Its Hall's bend but don't break philosophy. I do agree that they have room to improve.
I am not sold on Anderson. Like you say he makes plays but misses them too.
As for the others...
I love Maze. He gets a bad rep because of that long Bryant TD but he was probably our best DBs last year. And depending on which version of events you believe, the now unemployed Chris McKenzie was supposed to have coverage over the top on that infamous play.
I'm a big Macho fan... assuming he stays healthy. With those 2 at CB things should improve.
As for Thomas I'm not sure. I'll really be interested to see once he's healthy if he replaces Prince Miller. Miller has been playing well and there just isn't a big enough body of work for a fan like me to make a decision on Thomas. I wasn't overly impressed with the little I saw though.
Like you say, regardless of who the starting 5 is, they will need to play better against Calgary.
Yo Prophet .. this one's for you! ---"GOPHERNADO"----
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