Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Evening Sentimonies: Opportunity Missed

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.


Anonymous said...

Rider d-dacks take too many dumb penalties (Prince Miller). Durante the turnover machine is back, don't think the Riders can win with him as QB, Picard plays stupidly he's gonna get fined again this week for that low blow. I think there is a real attitude on the team,we will see if Chamblin truly has control over this team.

Where the hell is Jock Sanders seems to me one bad game of fumbling shouldn't cost him a spot, could have used a running back when Sheets got hurt.

This week will tell a lot about this team, see if they have the character to bounce back or not or if they are on the road,to Winnipeg.

Rider Prophet said...

Agreed on the penalties. We started out as one of the most disciplined teams but are slipping big time in that department of late.

Don't agree with the Durant thing, if we can't win with him as QB then we have no hope in the postseason. Willy ain't winning us the cup. With DD you gotta take the good with the bad and hope in the end that the good outweighs the bad.

Not sure why Sanders isn't back in yet. I hope its cause he's not healthy because could really use him.

The next game will be very telling indeed.

Anonymous said...

Wondering what you think about Cortez's play calling in the past two games? It seems in both losses we became one-dimensional. Durant throwing 50-passes in a game can't be good. Against Winnipeg I thought Cortex forgot about Sheets to immense suffering for Rider Nation. This game I think he totally failed to take full advantage of the energy and Saskie determination that Hughes was bringing. He was forgotten about later in the game.

I don't fault an O-line completely if they are forced on their heels every down. An O-line has to assert themselves in the running game and be able to run out in the flats for screens etc. I put both losses on Cortez. Don't force Durant to be more than he can be. Fight an overloaded box the old-fashioned way - the Argos and the Bombers would have paid dearly for endless blitzing. Oh well, I think it's good that the Riders are losing now. It's time for Cortez to see the error of his ways and react quicker when the opposing defense starts pressuring the quarterback. Personally, I find the CFL boring when endless aerial attacks take over a game (I mean, how many pass-interference calls can we take?). Let's see some real smash-mouth football!

Rider Prophet said...

For as much as I have been overtly in love with Cortez you are bang on in questioning his play calling over the last couple games. No screens to fight pressure, completely abandoned the run even though Hughes was running like a man possessed.

Like you say when you do stuff like that you set an already struggling OL up to fail. Pressure is appearing to be Cortez's weakness and he needs to make adjustments and prove we can handle it.