Riders 29 – Argos 31
In case you’re wondering this post is coming to you late because I had intentions of writing it last night but went to bed instead. I’m nothing if not brutally honest… and a rye enthusiast and highly stereotypical… but mostly honest.
After a craptastic week, the start of Saturday’s game continued the downward trend. Things just kept getting worse. We were turning the ball over repeatedly, Milo's streak ended, Sheets got hurt. Honestly at the rate things we going I was convinced that by the end of the game Durant was going to be struck down by lightning, the new temp stands were all going to collapse simultaneously and Michael Bishop was going to make an appearance.
But somehow we managed to shake of that unbelievably bad start and claw our way back into the game with a halftime lead. I was thinking, there it is, there’s the team that can fight through adversity and succeed. Unfortunately it was a short lived feeling and things once again went to hell. We made an attempt at a miracle comeback but it was far too little and far too late. We let a win slip away and suffered a home defeat for the first time this season.
Once again the defense has to be given full credit because they played some incredible football for 3 quarters. Despite a rash of errors on offense and special teams, they fought hard forcing multiple turnovers (for a while it seemed a forgone conclusion that each drive would end in us forcing a fumble). They also held the Argos to only 12 first half points and give our offense a myriad of chances to score. Problem was they received limited help from the O and eventually broke down at the worst possible time… in the 4th. They obviously had no clue who John Chiles was or assumed he was an illegible receiver (solid Proulx-ism there) because he got free a ton in the 4th. Overall its hard to fault a D who once again turned in a strong performance but we needed one more quarter from them and they fell short.
Offense I have far less flattering things to say about. Clearly losing Sheets greatly affected our game plan but we had chances to win even without him. About the nicest thing I can say about the O-line is that they were moderately less terrible than last week but that’s not saying much… when they weren’t busy taking penalties (I’m looking at you Picard) they were letting defenders through like they were on the guest list. Durant needs more protection than that but even so he played pretty poorly. He’s regressing to hold habits like throwing directly into coverage and holding onto the ball too long. On one play he hit Kahlif Mitchell in the belly button… the belly button! and it damn sure wasn’t because the 300 pound oaf has a massive vertical. I realize that blocking is a big part of executing our offense and we should be able to count on it but at some point you have to concede that it ain’t gonna happen an adjust accordingly. Obviously all our plans to deal with the pressure involved Sheets because we had nothing else. Still no screens, very few quick dumps. We refused to run. I realize that Hughes is no Sheets but he is capable of running the odd time. He's Canadian not retarded.
Speaking of Neal Hughes. I love that man! Talk about making the most of an opportunity. He played like a man possessed (most likely possessed by the knowledge that a starting opportunity like this will never be coming his way again) and was the lone bright spot on O.
The one series that defined out day was when we recovered a fumble on their 20 something yard line. Now predictably this led to an easy FG… the problem is between multiple Picard penalties and a snap that would only have been on target if Schmitt was standing on the SGI Building, the Argos someone managed to get the ball back from us in scoring range. It’s was almost comical… almost but my laughter came out as curse words.
In the end the game boiled down to this: the D put in 3 great quarters, the O put in 1 great quarter plus a few minutes at the end. You just can’t expect to win games like that against good teams especially when special teams hurts you more than hinders you. We fought through some adversity but succumbed to it in the end. All is not lost and I still have faith in this team to get things back on track but its gut check time (for both players and coaches). The road to the Grey Cup is bumpy and full of pot holes not paved in gold.
Other Random Thoughts:
- Whatever Argo defender got hurdled by Hughes should be thoroughly embarrassed. Come on its Neal freakin’ Hughes
- We were told that Cory Watman was the most pro ready OL prospect in the draft. Given our refusal to use him despite depleted OL depth either it is a terrible reflection on the quality of OL in this draft or we misjudged his readiness greatly
- What a catch by Geroy Simon! I was very vocal in my displeasure at how much we are paying him but to his credit he is doing everything that is asked of him and doing it well.
- If Kierre Johnson could learn how to catch he would be a deadly weapon out there
- If Chris Getzlaf could learn how to catch consistently he would break records
- Despite falling short at least we are showing the fighting spirit to claw and fight until the last second.