Riders 39 – Argos 28
Life has a cruel sense of humour. The Riders have started the season with 3 convincing wins, their offense is living up to the hype, turns out Kory Sheets wasn’t lying about being out of shape last year, our defense is solid and our special teams are noticeably fantastic. I should be happier than a drunk wanna-be cowboy at Craven… but I can’t be. Life has tainted this otherwise fantastic moment. Not much mind you but just enough to be annoying.
The reasons I can’t be completely happy are of course concern over Durant’s health and the fact that the damn 2012 Riders had to go a ruin 3 and 0 by losing 5 straight. Now I realize that the initial news on Durant is not terrible and that this year’s 3-0 team is vastly different than last year… but still, Damn you life!
Actually I’m not nearly as down in the dumps as my opening monologue would indicate. And really how could you be? The Riders went up against another formidable opponent and emerged with a win. A recurring theme in this young season. And in another recurring theme they found a new way to do it.
You’ve got to be loving the summer of George, Cortez that is. Unlike in the past years where we have had to endure the same offensive plan week in week out whether it worked or not (often not), Cortez is not only attacking new things each week, he is staying ahead of our opponents. Case in point, last week we used Getzlaf and Dressler to attack the Stamps. Logically, the Argos came in keying on our slots. So what do we do attack them with the wideouts. At this rate I’m convinced that our Banjo Bowl offense will revolve primarily around Dan Clark somehow. Durant and Smith are developing so deadly chemistry on those long balls (which is perfect for when teams are cheating up to try…and I emphasize try… to stop Sheets). Also, you just had to feel awesome for Rob Bagg that game. So deserving. Durant is just on fire and calmly and robotically carving through defenses.
Of course Durant has some massive help from some friends in the form of the increasingly ridiculous Kory Sheets and the 5 outstanding men clearing the way for him. Sheets is playing outstanding but you simply don’t get that much on the ground without some solid play up front. As for Sheets, what I find most impressive is that he is not rattling off massive runs. The odd one over 20 but mostly his huge rushing totals are the product of consistently getting decent yardage. Back to Cortez for a second… And I say this with an unblemished record of staunch heterosexuality ... I love him and could kiss him.
Defensively, the stats at the end of the day betray a solid defensive performance. Sure we did give up over 400 yards passing but almost half of that was in the fourth quarter when we (rightly for once) were mainly in prevent. As I said, Ray is a great QB and made some plays but nowhere near enough. We managed to take one of his favourite weapons in Kackert out of the picture for much of the game, making him one dimensional. Coming into the game Ray had been sacked once… we pummelled him for 5. What was great to see was us constantly pressuring and harassing Ray. He’s an accurate, quick release kind of QB but it’s tough to play that type of game under constant duress. With no real run game to take the pressure off, it made life very hard for Ray. Great defensive plan and execution.
Aside from the caveat around Durant’s health you have got to love pretty much everything about the way this season has started. We’ve faced great offenses and great defenses and handled them all with minimal stress. It’s a good time to be green (unless we are talking about your skin, in which case you should probably see a doctor).
Other random thoughts:
- In life, as in football, I would prefer not to see Willy make an appearance but when all he has to do is hand off on every play to seal the win, it makes Willy easier to handle.
- I wonder how long it took them to realize that it was a replay of a passing play that they were using to count players for the too many men penalty? The big giveaway was I’m not sure of how many punt formations involve Ray taking the snap.
- Ferri may have crossed a line or two but that aside I love how for once we are the team that is setting the bar in terms of physical play instead of getting bullied.
- Also on Ferri, I’ll have to admit I have seriously undervalued his talent. Dude is solid in all we ask him to do.
- We are finally starting to see the benefit of Brackenridge at safety. Boom!
- Admittedly that roughing the passer call on Khalif Mitchell was the result of the ref just seeing him standing over Durant on the ground and assuming. Hard to blame him