Riders 19 - Eskimos 24
Only the Riders could manage to have me
walk into a game I fully expected to lose and have me leave feeling
disappointed. Such is life as a Rider fan.
Before I get to the game, let illustrate
just how bad things had gotten in Riderville over the past month or so. On the
first offensive play of the game when Joseph took a deep shot, there was damn
near a standing ovation despite the fact the pass feel incomplete. On the next
play Joseph hit an 8 yard pass and as he and the offense were headed to the
sidelines, there was another raucous ovation despite the fact we just went 2
and out. We have been so desperate for competent play at the QB position that
even failure of the less embarrassing variety was a welcome sight. Every ounce
of me wanted to stand up and yell “Really?” to the fans cheering a 2 and out
but I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I was also happy we didn’t suck
quite as bad. For anyone who watched Mad TV, the whole scenario reminded me of
a sketch they did about a really bad dating service call Lowered Expectations.
As for the game, a competent QB changes
everything. Plain and simple. Was Joseph great? Lord no. Was he good? Good
enough. And low and behold, given the talent we have around him, “good enough”
was almost enough to beat the 2nd best team in the CFL… hell we should have beat them. I figured Joseph
would do good but admittedly he looked better than I expected. He was poised,
made reads, bought time, made passes, moved the ball, scored points… you know
all those things that our other QBs just couldn’t do. Clearly it was advantage
Joseph in the first half since the Esks would have had no film on him running
our offense and they certainly made adjustments in the second half to level the
playing field. Regardless, Joseph showed enough that I think we can win with
him. The whole team played better around him. O-line had their best game in
many weeks buying tons of time for Joseph. Heenan had a rough outing but as a
unit they were improved. Receivers were a mixed bag. They made some good plays…
but also dropped far too much. I like what Korey Williams brings at that
wide-out spot. Our run game was clearly affected by the late scratch of Allen.
His back spasms should come as no surprise given his attempt to carry the
entire team on his back last week. While our run game was a disappointment,
what was refreshing to see was us be able to adjust and still move the ball
without it. Joseph and the O will need to be better but I have faith in their
abilities overall which is something I did not have in the Sunseri/Doege
offense. More importantly the coaches seem to have confidence in Joseph given
that he didn’t get the training wheels playbook.
Overall a very good effort by our defense.
They really manned up and contained the run, both of White (68 yards) and
Reilly (11 yards). Foley was a monster out there. That D-line looks a whole lot
better with Derrick Walker in the line-up. He is very underrated in my opinion.
The injury to Maze was devastating. While he was in, we really contained Bowman
and the rest of the passing game. When Green was forced into action, it all
went to hell. Hopefully Maze will be back soon because he is a key piece of
That kick return TD was a killer. We had
all the momentum going into half after an outstanding 30 mins of football and
lost it all right then and there and let Edmonton back into the game after
having them on the ropes. Simply put we are currently not a good enough team to
overcome major mistakes like that. We need to play our best football in all
three phases in order to compete with top teams like Edmonton and Calgary. The
second half displayed less than our best in all 3 phases and we weren’t able to
We had an opportunity to win that game and
let it slip away. I think the confidence level across the province increase by
monumental proportions but a loss is a loss and I won’t be happy until I see
that increased confidence translate into wins. We have 2 games remaining and in
both cases our opponent will not care about the outcome so we need to keep
improving and be ready to play our best football come playoffs.
Other random thoughts:
- Greatest kiss cam ever! Also likely the
last kiss cam ever. For those of you who weren’t at the game you really missed
out. It was all going along like normal until the camera showed a young couple.
The guy told his lady friend to stand up. She seemed a bit confused but
obliged. He then shocked everyone by turning her around and giving her a her very enthusiastic dry humping.
Somewhere someone had to be yelling “Won’t
someone think of the children!”
- By now if you are not convinced that
Dressler had paid off the refs with paninis and blizzards you are obviously in
on the conspiracy. They just seem to
look away when he is returning punts. I’m not complaining mind you… in fact I
think he should expand his bribing ways to offensive plays as well.
- I am certainly not on the “Fire Cortez”
train. I have longed for an OC this good for years and hope he sticks around
long-term. That said, I have to question some pretty basic stuff that I’ve seem
him call. One example: Short yardage play we run Ford up the middle. Next play
we run Messam off-tackle. I’m no offensive genius but that seems really backwards
- Bartel is every bit as inconsistent a
punter as Milo. He really needs to get better if we are to continue justifying
using a roster spot on him.