Riders 30 - Bombers 24
OK, before I get to the game let me get a couple of things out of the way. 1) Yes clearly we were holding on Dressler TD. But given that there was clearly holding on the Stoudemire TD last week and that Grigsby TD this week that were also missed, any attempts to cry foul by the Bomber fans is just ridiculous. It goes both ways and its hardly news that CFL reffing is questionable. 2) On the "play that never happened" where Durant got hurt, clearly they blew the whistle. Normally that would make the hit on Durant unnecessary roughness but clearly no one heard the whistle. My only concern is why the refs didn't actively try and end the play and protect Durant.
Now that that is out of the way onto the game...
After spending most of the preceding week fretting about our special teams, I was as shocked as anyone to see them be the difference in the game. Blocked kick, kick return TD, solid on kick coverages. Would have been a damn near perfect night for the teams has Milo not gone and Miloed his first FG attempt. This is just the latest example of this team finding ways to win. Special teams delivered in a big way.
Defense delivered as well. 5 sacks and 2 interceptions (which came at key times in the 4th quarter). The D-line was destroying that O-line and the only reason we didn't have double digit sacks was because Willy showed an uncanny ability to escape the pressure. He was a slick Willy if you will. D gave up more passing yards then I would like to have seen but a lot of it was Bomber receivers making some damn nice catches and Willy making good throws, coverage was there for the most part. In the end though, the defense was able to pressure Willy and force him into some bad throws (really bad decisions that yet again cost him). Turnovers gave the Bombers good field position a couple times so our defense did pretty good all things considered.
Offense was looking actually not bad... until Durant went down. In what is among the least surprising revelations of the weekend Winnipeg struggles against the run. Allen was the one primarily doing the damage. Dressler's role continues to grow which was a good thing because outside of him we only completed 2 passes to receivers. Clearly the loss of Durant was a factor there... as well as our general aversion to excessive passing. Turnovers caused problems for the first time in over a month but fortunately we were able to overcome them.
One of those turnovers is the subject of much discussion. The Messam fumble on the 3rd down gamble. Personally I like the call to gamble. If our O-line is as good as we say it is we should be confident in any situation 1 yard or less. That said, anyone who knows me know that I consider shotgun formation on 3rd and 1 to be one of the dumbest things you can do in football. You want to run Messam? fine (I prefer the QB run but RB is fine) but for the love of god don't start him over 5 yards further back than the yard you need!! Really dumb call.
I, like everyone, am praying and waiting for news on Durant. Not sure how bad he's hurt but I will say that is the most pain I have ever seen him in over his entire Rider career (except maybe sitting on the sidelines suffering through Michael Bishop starting ). Man is as tough as they come so for him to show that much pain, you know it wasn't good. I just hope its not season ending. We will have to wait. Sunseri looked less impressive this outing. He gave up short of the first down on that one scramble (must have lost track of where the marker was), he also stupidly threw into double coverage and almost got it picked on a corner route. Not to mention his short yardage fumble. That said, I still have faith in him to lead this team for however long Durant is out. Its not like passing is a huge part of how we win games so we are uniquely built to withstand this adversity.
Despite all the close calls, adversity and cuss words emanting from the Prophet household this team conitnues to find ways to win. I said it before and I'll say it again... I will keep betting on this team until they give me reason not to. We are 8-2 after all.
- Highlight of the game was Jeremy O'Day getting into it with Glen January. Thought for a second O'Day might forget he had moved to the front office and get in on the physicality.
- Did Getzlaf even play? If he did I didn't see him.
- Brian Peters really stepped up on specials teams
- Sure nice having Weldon Brown back. He's a hell of an addition to an already high performing unit.
- Suck it Winnipeg!