Riders 23 - Bombers 17
So to summarize we committed over 100 yards in penalties, passed for just over 100 yards, failed to score an offensive TD, missed 2 FGs including one for 30 yards, our starting RB got less than 40 yards rushing and was benched, late in the 4th quarter our QB telegraphed a pass right into the hands of a linebacker... and yet we won. It's ridiculous. I can't imagine how hard this loss must be to swallow for Bomber fans. I'm not sure there's enough whiskey out there to ease the pain of a loss like that (and I'm well versed in trying to drink away bad loses).
Our defense certainly came to play on Thursday. The fact that they kept the score as close as they did in spite of the many mistakes they were making and the penalties they were taking is pretty damn impressive. I wonder how often John Chick's diabetes pump is checked for steroids because the guy in an animal. Good O-lines have trouble blocking him 1 on 1 so I'm not sure why the Bombers assumed their craptastic OL could manage him 1 on 1. I said before the game that the OL was Winnipeg's primary weakness and we exposed it big time. Whether it was Chick off the edge or the DTs running that same inside crossing stunt that they could not figure out, our D-line didn't just win the battle in the trenches, they dominated it. That forced Willy throw under pressure and made the run game such a non-factor that Ford out-rushed Grigsby 4 to 1 despite getting the hook at half. My favourite part of any Rider game is quickly becoming anytime Tearrius George gets to hit someone. Secondary gave up more plays than they should but made plays when it mattered. Willy loves to push the ball down field to try and make plays and that works fine until you are faced with a strong pass rush and a talented secondary. Mark LeGree is quickly developing into quite the addition to our defense.
I could sum up our offense by saying Jerome Messam was good. Beyond that I'm not even sure you could say we have an offense. Bagg and Getzlaf are proving reliable as ever but the 30+ yards they each produced aren't intimidating anyone. Our defense was able to bail out our non-existent passing game and Messam just ran over Winnipeg in that second half. Not a pretty recipe, not one you can probably rely on too often but one that worked. And really this shouldn't surprise anyone. We can into the season with a solid D, great OL and the ability to run the ball (apparently with pretty much any RB as 4 different ones have already put up big numbers). Our recipe for success is don't turn it over, run strong and assume the defense will play good enough to give us a chance.If Messam can keep his head on straight, I like him running behind our OL. Whatever the big boys up front don't open up, Messam can just bowl over. He gives us that closing ability we had with Sheets when everyone knew we were running but we still got the 1st down. Gotta get something going in our passing game though... unless our plan is just don't throw until Dressler comes back. Next game we should just put Ryan Smith in a Dressler jersey and not tell Durant.
Truth be told we played like garbage for the majority of that game. That said, the fact that the team was able to overcome that, finish strong and steal away the win on the road should show you all you need to know about the character of our team. We are likely going to have to win a lot more ugly ones like that (well hopefully not quite that ugly but you get the point) so having proven that we can has got to improve the outlook going forward.
The good news is that our next opponents someone manage to make our non-existent passing attack seem dominant by comparison.
Other random thoughts:
- Macho Harris may the oddest combination of great coverage skill mixed
with complete inability to make a play when the ball arrives.
- If Kuale has any hands at all, we would be sitting here bemoaning another disappointing effort by the Riders.
- Winnipeg's offense is now average 14 points per game against teams in the West vs. 36 per game against the East. Given that they have 7 more game against the West to go, that could pose a problem.
- What was Tristan Jackson so worked up over on that one return? Was he mad at something Winnipeg did? Or was he just pissed at Rod Williams for taking yet another penalty?