Riders 36 – Stamps 21
It’s a good thing this blog is in written format because my voice still isn’t recovered completely yet from Friday night. What a way to open things up at Mosaic!!! A killer entrance, a jacked up crowd over 35,000 strong and a big big win against a tough rival.
I won’t lie, I spent a lot of the first quarter cursing like a sailor. The O couldn’t get much going. The D looked like Cortez had brought his defense from Hamilton last year. But then both sides started to show signs of life in the second quarter and even though we were down a TD going into half I was starting to feel not bad. I was expect a tough as nails fight in the second half that would come down to the wire. I was not expecting a complete domination of both sides of the ball in the second… fortunately that’s what we were treated to. Which was a good thing after we were forced to endure an incredibly poorly thought out half time act. Seriously who approves these decisions?!? Let’s give a rowdy, drunk, Friday night crowd SaskExpress. They will clearly appreciate their youthful exuberance.
But back to football, traditionally we are not a great team at half time adjustments but Friday whatever they talked about in that lockerroom couldn’t not have been more perfect. 22-0 in the second half. Calgary just had no answer for what we were doing on both sides of the ball.
Mainly it was Korey Sheets who they did not have an answer for. He ploughed over the Stumps for over 100 yards in the 2nd half alone. He just simply would not be stopped (especially on that TD where everyone but him thought he was done). It’s nice to once again be one of those teams that when we have the lead can just put the rock in our feature back’s hands and close out the game.
It was a stark contrast to the Stamps who are used to doing that but saw us render Cornish uncharacteristically ineffective. He was in good company though as the Stamps didn’t really move the ball in the second half at all. At least this time Cornish didn’t express his frustration by taking off his pants (I’m guessing a few Rider fans expressed their happiness that night by doing so but I digress). Secondary tightened things up including Prince Miller who shook off his rookie raping to turn in a decent performance (which we needed given the absence of Maze and Thomas).
So much of what worried me heading into this game turned out to be for not. Our small outside LBs were not a liability. Ben Heenan (and the OL as a whole) showed well against Charleston Hughes. The Stamps weren’t able to eliminate Sheets. It was great to see. It was also great see a team other than us shoot themselves in the foot late in the game as the Stamps did with a Too Many Men and then Unnecessary Roughness penalty to extend a key drive that should have ended in a punt. Unlike the Als coaching staff that got called out by a very grumpy old man, full credit to our coaches for a solid game.
Bottom line is we went toe to toe with one of better teams in the league this year and won in convincing fashion. It’s still early but you gotta be happy with what we have seen so far.
A few other random thoughts:
- Ricky Foley showed some impressive speed on that play where he ran down Tate
- I would have been happy with shutting down one of Hughes, Lewis or Cornish. To nail the trifecta is outstanding
- Macho Harris will have many more INTs this season. Really like his play.
- It’s only been 2 games but the Cortez offense comes as potent as advertised.
- Especially loved the balls shown in going for 2 point converts twice. Both were the correct call, you just don’t often see it.
- Offensive performance could have even been better if Riley hadn’t negated a tremendous Taj Smith TD grab.
- Ricky Schmitt is one hell of a kicker
- People need to stop hyping Hefney… he gets so many tackles because he is in the trail position constantly. We wisely picked on him throughout the game.
- Milo is perfect, Getzlaf is consistent, Durant has no turnovers… what kind of bizzaro world have we entered?
- Veterans should not be allowed to change numbers… it’s too confusing for guys like me. I’m talking to you Huclack and you Clark.
Bring on the Argos.