Riders 32 - Lions 35 (OT)
Fun fact, the Riders would be 3-0 this season if one of the rule changes had been reducing regulation to 50 minutes. They would be 2-1 if they cut it 57 minute games. When it comes to finding ways to blow things, the 2015 Riders are more adept at it than some of the "ladies" found around the Craven grounds this weekend.
Truth be told I haven't actually seen the whole game. I watched the highlights and listened to the last ten minutes of the game and OT on the radio in my camp ground at Craven (where I have just returned from so if my sentimonies are less coherent than normal forgive me). As I listened, I steadily transitioned from celebratory drinking (when I assumed we had it in the bag after the Allen TD) to drinking to calm my nerves, to drinking to forget there even was a football game. Fortunately I was in the right place.
Friday night's loss marks just another chapter in what is becoming an ongoing saga for the Riders... inability to finish. Despite an injury list that features a lot of our big name platers, the Riders have been in a position to win every game they've played this season. And each time they find a way to lose. They have no killer instinct and if they don't find it soon, the hole they are digging themselves will soon be too deep to get out of.
Our offense put in another good effort. Kevin Glenn is far from flawless but I think he has been playing some great football. He looks very comfortable in the Chapdelaine offense. Our passing game is good. Our run game is looking really good with both Messam and Allen running hard. Our O-line consistently gives Glenn good protection and must be run blocking well given the yards our RBs chew up. Hands to the face penalties appears to be a curious epidemic for our OL but nothing about penalties makes sense this year in the CFL so I'll give them a pass on that.
Our defense actually put in a very solid effort for 3 quarters. They held BC without a TD. But suddenly in the 4th quarter that familiar set our useless bums we've grown accustomed to reappeared offering about as much resistance as me when asked if I want another beer this weekend. Over 3 games opposing QBs have completed 80% of their pass attempts against us and averaged 332 yards per game. We have yet to hold a QB under 3 TD passes. The league is now a passing league more than ever and we appear to be dumbfounded on how to deal with that. Even our much-hyped defensive line which we assumed would be the strength of the defense has produced just 3 sacks and generally lacked the disruptive pressure we expected. Fact is, Chamblin's D wasn't very good when he was a D-Coordinator in Hamilton (granted they were lacking in talent) and they aren't very good since Richie Hall departed and Chamblin took over here. It really begs the question as to whether he is the right guy to be running our defense.
I 100% agree with the call to gamble on 3rd and 1 late in the fourth. That is a play you expect your team to convert on and given how useless our defense is it was way riskier to kick to BC and assume we could stop them then try it end the game with a 1 yard plunge. The execution wasn't great (though watching the replay I think we may have got a lousy spot) but the call was sound. I'd make that same call any day.
What I did not agree with was Chamblin declining the procedure call just after we turned the ball over after the failed plunge. BC needed a FG to tie so why in the hell would we decline a penalty that would push them 5 yards back and make that kick more difficult?!?! The difference between a 55 yard attempt and a 60 yard attempt is massive. That was a major coaching screw up that falls squarely on Chamblin.
So here we sit 0-3, worst team in the league. Its still early in the season and its certainly not time to panic, fire everyone and form a mob with pitchforks and torches. But we do need to start finding ways to win instead of finding ways to lose and soon. Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and sexual harassment lawsuits.