Riders 22 – Lions 24
I assumed that when my Vikings lost to the lowly (and running back-less) Cleveland Browns that my day could not get any worse… I was wrong. Apparently I have done something to offend to sporting gods (right now you are probably thinking “just one?”). For the 3rd time in as many weeks, the Riders let a winnable game slip out of their grasp. It was a very familiar scene as the defense started strong but run out of gas at key times; offense played for only sporadic drives and otherwise were just painful to watch and special teams was unable to give us a needed boost and yet again had costly miscues of its own. Another QBs whose testicles probably haven’t even dropped yet made to look like a savvy vet, another opposing defense with a day made too easy… another loss. Same old story. Our decent from favourites in the West to a fighting to even be a contender continues.
To Cortez’s credit I was somewhat happier with our short game this week (we even ran one of those mystic screens that I thought were extinct). But still… what happened to that feared 30+ point per game offense we started with? It has been replaced by one so impotent that teams are confidently punting from their endzone because we won’t make them pay for it. We went from one of the most heavily devoted to the run to a team that might as well be coached by Doug Berry for how little we value running. 9 runs by Garrett vs. 50 passing attempts is just not sustainable. Our O-line is getting worked in pass blocking so maybe give them a chance to go on the aggressive and run block more often. This plan of just assuming they will magically become useful blockers is not panning out. And it ain’t just my perennial whipping boy Neufeld. I saw Labatte on roller skates a couple times and Picard at one point failed to block a defensive tackle… you know the guy that lines up right in front of him. Offense as a whole is just bad, coaches, QB (the fact that the stat sheet shows 0 picks is beyond flattering), RB, O-line, even the receivers aren’t doing anything magical. The frustrating parts is we keep seeing flashes of the offensive power that should be there but it is way too sporadic and inconsistent to do us any good.
Defense was clearly hurt by the late and unexpected absence of Weldon Brown. Yet again they started out strong, allowing just 6 first half points but a lack of offensive support has to be wearing them down. The way our O is playing, we need the D to win us a couple games but they just haven’t been able to do enough despite commendable efforts. Last week it was John Chiles we couldn’t not stop, this week it was Courtney Taylor. We got pressure but needed a big play that we just couldn’t get. I know we are asking a lot of our D but opportunities are there for them to play better… they are at least starting from a way better point than the O.
Quick though on Milo… 3 posts in 2 weeks, He couldn’t do that again if you paid him. Love Milo but those have all been very costly mistakes.
The season it not lost by any stretch but the illusion that we are the team to beat in the West is. All we can do now is embrace the role of underdog and fight to prove people wrong. We are showing heart and fight but thats all just nice words unless you can translate it into a win. 6 of our 8 wins have come against sub 500 teams. We’ve proved we can play like ass and still hang with the big boys… now we just need to eliminate the playing like ass and start winning games we should.
Other random thoughts:
- Why do the refs hate us? That first roughing the passer call was garbage. Does a ref have a hot wife that someone boinked
- Poor Stu… that didn’t look good.
- These awkward Gainer vignettes are just getting weirder by the week. IS there really nothing else to fill time with?
- Was really hoping Geroy would break the record while winning us the game.
- Upon further reflection, while the Rider loss hurts more, the Vikings losing to the Browns is more embarrassing.