Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Holiday Monday Edition

Riders 38 - RedBlacks 14

Another crappy East team, another lopsided Rider victory... honestly at this rate we should petition to be moved to the East division... though I think out request would be behind Winnipeg's. 

Much like last week, the Riders capitalized on early mistakes by their opponents (mainly errant Burris throws and a lack of catching ability on the part of the receivers). Had it not been for the fact that the onside punt TD confused Brackenridge that could have been an easy shutout. I was surprised that Brack's football instincts didn't kick in and tell him to just get on the ball but I will give him a pass for getting confused by a play that is run once a decade.

It was a very different offensive attack then I was expecting. I assumed we'd come out and run it down their throat. Instead we took to the air. One reason is that the RedBlacks were clearly keying on plugging up the line of scrimmage. The other reason is that I think losing Labatte early probably had an effect on our ability to counter the pressure they were sending against the run. No worries though as Durant had no problem attacking a weak secondary. Having Getzlaf back clearly helped the passing game come back to life. Brett Swain even decided to make a reappearance after a couple weeks of invisibility. I spent the early part of the season pumping this guy's tires and was starting to worry that I was wrong about him. Nice to see him back. But how about Rab Bagg? Monster game. This was a game that really reminded me of what a chess master Cortez can be. Last year the focal point of our offensive attack changed week to week and it kept teams guessing. This week, clearly Taj and Ford were the targets of Ottawa so we change it up and use Bagg, Swain and Getz instead.

Defense turned in another solid performance. Brian Peters finally showed a glimpse of what the coaches love about him. Chevon Walker had a couple big runs but we kept him from turing those big runs into points. Not surprisingly when he fails to score, the RedBlacks don't have much to fall back on. I was actually surprised at how well the Ottawa O-line held up against our DL. They lost the battle at the line of scrimmage but didn't get as embarassed as I expected. That should be a good sign for the future in Ottawa. Defense still had some busts in coverage that a better team would have made us pay for so there is room for improvement.

Then there is Tristan Jackson... what an absolutely outstanding game for him. Big pick, almost a second, big kick return, missed FG TD. For a guy who kinda flies under the radar amid the other names on our D, he has been a steady performer since coming back to us last year and the difference he makes in our return game is undeniable.

It was another convincing win over a clearly inferior opponent. The pass game showed noticeable improvement. The run game wasn't nearly as dominant as previous weeks but anyone calling for Ford to sit should remember how we spent many weeks bemoaning the revolving door at RB. My only concern is that in the past 2 weeks we've been able to go into full coast mode early in the second half. As we've seen, anything less than 60 minutes of full effort is unlikely to cut it against Winnipeg. Not much time to savour this victory as we have to turn our attention to the toughest game so far in our schedule this Thursday.

Other random thoughts:
- As much as I loved everything Tristan Jackson did, my favourite moment of that game is when Tearrius George lined up that block on the one return and absolutely unloaded on that poor RedBlack. That is not the man you want to see put you in his cross hairs.

- That game had pretty everything happen that could in the kicking game. Off the uprights, missed FG TD, onside punt TD, attempted shirt kick to a receiver. Maybe if Ottawa spent more time practicing fundamentals instead of ridiculous special teams plays, they would be doing better. Brett Maher went 0/4 on FG attempts.

- It crazy how well Brackrenridge can time his blitzes. Its like the opposite of what we came to expect of the patented Scott Gordon safety blitz... and by that I mean its effective.



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