Riders 31 – Lions 17
Based on the fact that the Riders wore all white and Lions all black I had to reject a few potential headlines for today such as White Supremacy and Whites steal one from Blacks for a change.
Friday the Riders we had grown accustomed to in the early part of the season made a surprise appearance. You know the ones that have an offense, run the ball, can contend with any team in the league, take advantage of inexperienced QBs… and most importantly, win.
Offensively obviously getting Sheets back was a huge boost. But our offensive game plan as a whole was better. Short passes, quick hitters, hot routes, using the RB in the pass game. We were just way less predictable. Not surprisingly that made life easier on our OL and kept the BC D from dictating the terms of play to us. For us to come out on the road on a short week like that it pretty impressive. It was far from a perfect night and many plays were left on the field but our O once again showed they have the ability to score… more than once too. BC has a very good defense so hats off to Cortez, Durant and the whole O for proving that the past month is no reflective of what this offense is capable of.
While I loved seeing Sheets back in here doing his thing (pretty darn good for his first game in a month), seeing him waddle off the field like a penguin was about the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. I hope I wasn’t the only one saying “It’s too hot out for a penguin just to be walking around. We gotta get you back to the zoo.”. I can laugh because it was only cramping, I was damn near in tears when he first went down.
Defense yet again did great considering how our starting group changes every week. 5 sacks, 3 picks, less than 20 points allowed. Scary to think how good this unit would be with Rey, Weldon and Macho all healthy. Rod Williams looked great for being back in the CFL for 3 days. His conditioning is obviously lagging but he was a huge improvement over the likes of Russ and Miller. Butler had a solid game. That pick was something else! Foley looked particularly jacked up. I thought we did a good job of shutting down Andrew Harris but man if I was a BC fan I would be livid at Chapdelaine for how little he was used.
Return game even had an extra bounce in its step. Love having Sanders back in the mix. Milo needs to be better. Let’s just hope he’s getting this crap outta the way before November.
Overall it was a great game. Team came out on the road fired up and playing great on both sides of the ball. With all the talent on this team that’s all we need to come away with wins. Hopefully we can build on this and start playing our best ball down the stretch.
The Riders weren’t done making news with the win. They also make waves by trading for CFL sack leader Alex Hall. Rider also get a 2nd rounder and send OL Pat Neufeld and a 4th rounder to Winnipeg. While adding a DE as good as Alex Hall is never a bad thing, I’m not really sure why we made the move. With Chick and Foley, pass rush was hardly an area of weakness. Not sure how much of an impact this will have. Certainly won’t be negative but to give up depth along the OL (yes I consider Neufeld depth, not a starter… but a solid 6th OL) is a ballsy move, especially when we aren’t addressing an area of weakness and only getting an American for 7 games tops. In case you needed a reminder, Taman is gambling all in on this year. Next year be damned. Let’s hope the gamble pays off.
As someone pointed out on another thread, because we got Hall, nobody else can get him and hurt us with him.
Also, because Neufeld is from here there's a good chance he'll come back when he's a free agent. The fact that we're a contender is another incentive to come back. I'm not worried.
A win always makes us feel better. But the offense still needs plenty of improvement. Hopefully, they get on a roll. Simon should be more in the mix. I say that not because he needs to pad his statistics. They guy will make plays if the ball is sent his way. Don't understand seeing him blocking on key second downs. Oh well, if he's healthy I suspect he will be the one who comes up with winning touchdowns and important upfield plays against Calgary in the Western Final!
On the Neufeld trade: I don't like to see Saskatchewan boys traded. He was certainly a work in progess, but the Riders should thrive with homegrown talent. Perhaps he will return later in his career. One question, though. Aside from the rent-a-player rationale for this trade, do you think Taman ascertained he would not be protecting Neufeld in the expansion draft and figured he would be lost to Ottawa? Not much buzz about that scenario.
Sheets's leadership role on the team is pretty obvious now that he is back. He plays with such intensity it's pretty cleat that it rubs off on the rest of the team. When he went down with that leg cramp, I think the whole province gasped .. and thought 'oh no'! His value to the team is a lot bigger than just the yards that he gains. The guy is a leader.
Ronbo - Neufeld has 2 yrs left on his deal after this year so he's a bit away. I think his calling in life is as a 6th OL maybe he can prove otherwise in Winnipeg. I'm happier using their QBs as guinea pigs than ours
Anon - Agree that the offense will need to be better than that in order to keep winning but at least it was a dramatic improvement over the last few weeks of crap we've seen. Simon's time will come. He makes plays when called on, we brought him in to win a cup not to have a prolific regular season.
Protecting Neufeld would have been stupid. A lot of way better Cdns to protect. Maybe this was a way to get some value out of him before the expansion draft but that was likely a secondary consideration.
Jim - Fully agree
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