Riders 16 - Als 11
Watching the Riders right now is a lot like picking up stragglers at
last call. You have to lower your standards... a lot. Its not pretty.
You feel some shame. You maybe die a little inside. Part way through you
have second thoughts about this working about. But in the end you get
what you came for and you can do it all again next week.
Let me start this post by saying that the only points I care about in the end are the 2 points you get for a win. Style points are as useful as a Jacksonville Jaguar playoff ticket. I have seen us play a lot prettier and lose and there is no solace in that. I will take 11 more games like that if it means we go 16 and 2. Now odds that happening are next to nil if we keep playing like this but my point is a win trumps a lack of style point, always will. We are 5-2... we should be a little happier than we seem to be.
Our defense is playing at such a high level that it's pretty much just become the norm; something we expect. If John Chick continues on this torrid pace there will be aspiring football players who start experimenting with the combination of diabetes and hutterite beards to see if that's the source of his powers. He's so ridiculous that refs invent penalties because they assume he's already sacked the QB without even moving. Brackenridge was flying around looking for kill-shots all day (maybe he was pissed he didn't get to unload on Ocho). I got a kick out of the TSN announcers raving about how improved the Als offense looked under Brink... umm... they didn't score. Less embarrassing but same production as Troy Smith. As usual our D came with sacks and turnovers galore and are the driving force in our winning record. Took them a while to figure out the dual use of Sutton and Whitaker but they allowed 1 FG and no TDs... can't ask much more... except maybe a little more hustle from that #97. 3 sacks? been there, done that... you'll have to try harder next time if you want to impress me.
As for our offense, yes they suck but bear with me a minute. I said in my pre game write up that I was surprised how bad that D had been playing given the talent there. This is not a bad defense by any stretch... they have just been under-performing. I think moving Lavrias back to DL and slotting in Bear Woods (a natural MLB) in the middle really helped settle that defense. I'm not excusing our lowly offense but I'm just saying this is a solid defense and we managed over 200 yards passing (a monumental achievement by our standards), got an offensive TD (also a rarity) and didn't turn it over. Great? God no! But good enough? You bet.
Ok now that I've spoken some positive things about our offense now let me get to the criticizing. I still have faith in Cortez (remember all the doubt we had during the losing streak last year and how that turned out) but for an offensive guru the man is doing some questionable things. For example, the Als had the worst run D in the league... and we only ran once in the 1st quarter. Once!! And only 6 times total in the first half. It's like we over thought things. We also left John Bowman unblocked... a lot. That's insanity. That is the guy who should be doubled and we just gave him free reign more than once. Just really odd stuff.
For me the frustrating thing is seeing those glimpses. There were a few picture perfect passes by Durant (like on the Bagg TD) and there was that QB draw where he just willed us to a first down (twice). That's the offensive stuff we got used to seeing and its still there... just mixed with a lot of garbage. I'm not saying our receivers are blameless but at this point in the season if our players can succeed in the offense you are calling... try something new. It's like square peg round hole some times.
Things brings me to Milo. I'll keep this short because enough hate has been hurled his way since last night by others.
1 - Someone should kick him in the nuts every time he misses a FG under 40. Preferably Tearrius George.
2 - I hope his new contract pays him a % of his salary equivalent to his accuracy %.
He's back to "Another Miss For Milo!" form and in an offense where points are at a premium we can't afford that.
While we've certainly got stuff that we need to address, keep in mind that we have won 4 straight and have a pretty solid record at 5-2. Style points are for figure skating. As long as we keep winning, I'll learn to deal with the ugliness... that's what alcohol is for.
Other random thoughts:
- Rod Williams is a great cover guy and a heavy hitter but he sucks at tackling.
- The decision by Montreal not to go for 2 after the missed FG TD was devoid of any logic.
- For all the talk about a reduced role for Taj this week, who got the majority of reps late in the game when things really counted? Not Korey Williams... and rightfully so. That said Taj looked pretty unimpressive for a guy who should have been trying to make amends.