Riders 13 - BC 26
Well the good news is that we didn't suck as bad as last week... the bad news is that we still aren't playing good enough football to win games. The Riders dropped their second straight game on Saturday night and in the process sunk to the bottom of the West division standings (which if we played in the East may have clinched a home playoff game).
We knew coming into this season that we weren't likely to steamroll teams like we did at points last season. We knew we'd have to eke out some close wins. We aren't built at this point to overcome many mistakes and Saturday was full of them. Charles dropped a TD (at first I was curious why we even challenged that because it clearly was not a catch, then I remembered this is the CFL and that would not have been the most ridiculous thing to result from video review that I have seen). Eron Riley dropped a beautifully thrown ball (and in the process I hope ended his Rider career. If we needed a tall useless receiver we should just bring back Prechae). Those are the kinds of plays a team like us can't afford not to make.
Our defense was supposed to be the strength of this team... if what I saw on Saturday is our strength, we are screwed. Andrew Harris was single-handedly better than all 44 players we dressed.While Harris is one talented player, if we were capable of tackling on the 2nd or even 3rd attempt, we could have cut his production in half. It was embarrassing. I am a huge Maze fan but these last two games have been by far the worst of his CFL career... timing couldn't be worse as this is precisely the time we needed him to step up. Chad Kilgore can't get healthy soon enough because teams are realizing that the Hurl/Peters/Black combo is a liability and are exploiting it. Even our D-line wasn't near as disruptive as they should have been. Too many penalties hurt us as well. That said I will give the D credit they did show some resilience and made enough plays to at least give us a chance.
The same can't be said for our offense which is just useless. The the impact the injury to Getzlaf (and too a lesser extent Schillens) had on our offense was painfully obvious. Riley is useless. Swain was uncharacteristically invisible. Even Bagg couldn't seem to get on the same page as Durant. Ryan Smith has potential but is not yet the kind of WR we can lean heavily on. Taj Smith tried but one receiver cannot carry an offense. You can just tell Durant feels uncomfortable out there. He doesn't have a feel for the receivers out there and most of them liekly aren't where they should be anyway. That uneasiness is making him less decisive and more mistake prone. You can also tell that our inexperienced receivers are out of their league went it comes to recognizing blitzes and adjusting their routes accordingly. That's a side effect of going from a veteran group that made life easy for Durant to this group that are making his job harder.. and he so far isn't responding well.
Normally when your pass game struggles you lean on your run game. Unfortunately our run game is degenerating into comic absurdity. We focused on it early and had some success. Charles look good early. He even looked good running up the middle which is a good sign for a scat back. But then he fumbled and it all went to hell. Charles was never seen from again. (For the record I said in my pre-game write-up that Hugh Charles is not the answer if ball security is the issue so it doesn't come as a big surprise) Back in comes Allen... at least until he fumbles at which point Messam will come in... until he fumbles and then we will ask Cobourne to unretire until he fumbles. It's a joke. At some point we need to pick a RB and commit to him. What we are doing now is causing the RBs to play timid and try to avoid mistakes as opposed to playing aggressive and trying to make plays. It's not a recipe for success. It hurts the players, it hurts the continuity of our O. It's poor coaching.
Bottom line is that we knew we'd be in tough coming into the season and the fact that we are without Getzlaf, Schillens and Kilgore has compounded the issue. We had a chance to beat BC but didn't make near enough plays to make it a reality. I'm not going to write of the season like some as I think we are in for a strong finish but in the short term we are going to be in for some struggles. We aren't good enough offensively. We have issues at LB and the rest of our D can't tackle. Hopefully the bye week will do us some good and we can figure some of this out.
Other random thoughts:
- That final offensive series was beyond idiotic. Why on earth are we throwing short passes and putting our star receiver at risk at the end of a game we have already clearly lost?!? We are Taj didn't get hurt while he was being spun like a ferris wheel.
- How complicated is a freakin' coin toss?!?! BC almost managed to screw it up. Hamilton had issue 2 weeks ago. It's crazy
- Not sure if you noticed but Gainer was almost invisible that game. I have 2 theories: Either Gainer was beyond hungover and was mailing it in or the real Gainer was on a Craven bender and didn't show up so they put some random dude in the Gainer suit and told him to not do anything to attract attention to himself.