Riders 31 - Ti-Cats 10
Forgive the lateness of this post, in addition to us winning the home opener, it also happened to be my birthday... so I had a few reasons to celebrate. Needless to say my sentimonies this morning were limited to pain-filled grunts. Oh man have I missed the feeling of my voice being absolutely shot.
Despite mother nature's attempt to turn the Riders into a water polo team, 19,000 strong showed up to Mosaic to witness a good old fashioned ass kicking to open the 2014 season. I say strong because all those people who stayed in their seats were tough as nails. One of the advantages of sitting up on the second deck is that we were dry as can be once we got to our seats. But full credit to those who withstood the waves of water they were pelted with.
I figured the Riders would do better in this game than many were expecting (particularly the offense) but I did not expect us to completely dominate the Ti-Cats like that. Our O-lines and D-lines were dominant, there's were not. Our QB was calm and dialed in, there's probably made the days of yelling at Henry Burris seem not so bad by comparison to Coach Austin. Those were the deciding differences in the game. Actually for a team coached by Austin, they looked woefully unprepared and unable to adapt. It was surprising. It wasn't just the elements, it was football fundamentals. They had no answer for our blitzes and seemed to have a deer in the headlights look every time we ran one. They have one of the better RBs in the league in CJ Gable yet he ran the ball 3 times... 3 times! They have premiere DTs in Bulke and Laurent yet you wouldn't know it looking at what Allen did (and he by no means a shift, speed back).
I won't spend too much time extolling the virtues of Anthony Allen... his game speaks for itself. I thought he showed great vision and that combined with his powerful north/south running and our O-line led to big gains all night. I also liked how he recovered from that early fumbled and played solid the rest of the game. Given that I thought Toston outplayed Allen in preseason evidently the coaches saw potential in Allen that they really liked and he fully justified their faith. I love the prospect of a big power back running behind our stud O-line
I have been high on Brett Swain all preseason and my borderline man-crush is proving justified. I see him being an integral part of the offense in the weeks to come.
Defensively, I think the only thing sadder than watching Hamilton try to block our pass rush was watching Troy Smith try and complete a pass. Before we get all crazy about our D-line dominance bear in mind that the Ti-Cats have O-line issues and their top OL (Dyakowski) is still hurt so some of what we saw was taking advantage of a weaker line. Still credit to our DL they looked fierce. Walker looked solid at DT and the nonexistent run game and sack totals would indicate a job well done. If they can keep up the strong play along with George, then Chick and Foley may be in for big seasons. I also thought Hurl and Peters looked good. And our secondary should have have way more picks then they did, they were in great coverage positions all night but just couldn't squeeze the ball (on a dry day, the results could have been even worse for the Ti-Cats).
The Ti-Cats must be glad they do not have to return here until next year because they have
been flat out embarrassed here over and over again. I don't think they are as bad as they looked and I don't think we will be as dominant as we looked but I love what I've seen so far from the 2014 Riders.
Other random thoughts:
- How awesome was it to have not only Jerrell Freeman but also Weston freakin' Dressler in the house!!
- You knew it wasn't Hamilton's day when they managed to even screw up us missing a FG... for the record that kick never had a chance of making it , not sure why we even tried.
- Ainsworth had a solid day on special teams
- I was honestly surprised that the Riders didn't buy Canadian Tire our of rubber boots, stick Rider logos on them and sell them at a ridiculous mark up... opportunity missed.
- I'm sure more than a few people were wondering why we let Jordan Sisco in at QB late in the game.