Riders 3 - Ti-Cats 28
Sunday we witnessed first hand the drastic difference between not passing for many yards because we choose not to and not passing for many yards because we can't. We were able to win 8 games with the former. We looked like a team that brought a sandwich to a knife fight with the later.
Sunseri's first career start certainly didn't go as planned. We needed him to deliver a mediocre performance in order to keep playing our game and have a chance to win. Instead Sunseri looked like he was playing at half speed. Slow making his reads, slow making decisions... and there were sometimes when he didn't make a decision. That is where things all started to go wrong for the Riders. A less decisive QB means the OL has to block longer. Not surprisingly that led to sacks and holding penalties. A less decisive QB meant the ball was generally delivered later than the receivers should be expecting it... if it was delivered at all (I was convinced for part of the game that Sunseri didn't know that people other Anthony Allen played offense). We may be the best in the league at running the ball but without even a remote threat that we can pass its pretty easy for a team to take away the run... especially a team like the Ti-Cats who have decent run D to begin win. The fact that we ran for 100 yards in spite of the whole no passing thing is really a sign of how good our run game is. I'm not sure why Sunseri was so "slow". Maybe it was nerves, maybe he was trying to be too perfect and over-thinking things. Whatever it is we need him to be more decisive. I'd honestly prefer to see him make mistakes while making quick throws rather than sitting there like a he was a computer trying to download a YouTube video with a 56K modem.
As for the defense, admittedly they did not have a good day either. At times they looked uninspired, they missed tackles, they missed assignments, they didn't play at the level we needed them to. But to be fair. Despite an offense that did not exist, we were down 10 points a half. They kept us in it but eventually ran out of gas late because our offense offered no support. Could they have been better? Absolutely. But if we had even the semblance of a pass game I think they would have done enough for us to win.
We got whooped, plain and simple. That said I'm not about to give up on Sunseri or the season, or call for the new most popular man in Saskatchewan Seth Doege, as seem to be popular options. I think Sunseri can play better and the only way that is going to happen is by learning from his mistakes and growing in the starter's role. Besides next up is a home date with Ottawa... that can the cure for a lot of what ails you.
Other random thoughts:
- Derek Walker gave Dan Clark a run for his money for most amazing catch by a fat man. Wow what a diving catch! Maybe we should build the Sunseri passing attack around Walker and Clark.
- For a league that supposedly focuses on protecting the QB to miss a blatant face mask on the QB is unacceptable. You would have had to consciously not been looking at the QB (who had the ball) to miss that.
- Milo had a pretty bad day punting. Too many line drives with no hang time to allow our cover teams to have a chance.
- I was really hoping that the failed clock management at the end of the half would end up being the downfall of Austin and the Cats. That was just bad.
- In this day and age should it not be possible to transplant Susneri's arm onto Durant's body? Skin colour difference would be a bit odd but I'm sure we'd grow to love FrankenDurant.