Riders 27 - RedBlacks 30
The return of Glenn to the line-up seemed to rejuvenate the team bit. They fought hard, they scored points, they made plays in all 3 phases... then just as Cinderella's carriage returns to a pumpkin at midnight, once the latter stages of the game set in, the Riders made their habitual return to a bottom feeding team. If you watched only the first half of our games this season you would be confused as to how we have only one win. If you watched only the 4th quarter you may wonder how we manage line up in the correct positions or tie our shoes. I think we should petition the league to award partial points for playing good for part of the game. For example leading at half would be 0.5. Leading after 3 would be 0.75 points. It's a slight step above participation awards but when you have just one win, you can't be too proud to accept charity.
Coming into the game there were 2 match-ups which concerned me greatly. The first was our porous O-line against the sack happy Ottawa D-line. I was actually pleasantly surprised on this one. Overall the O-line held up not bad (which by 2015 Rider standards is akin to a glowing compliment). Certainly a much better effort than last week. Unfortunately the other match-up concern: our patchwork secondary (that was terrible even before we started plugging in a ton of new guys) vs. their passing attack turned out to be a very legitimate concern. The only way Burris could have embarrassed our pass D anymore was if he passed for the close to 500 yards he amassed on Saturday while wearing his patented bra. To call our defense soft would be like calling Ebola a minor inconvenience. Can't say I expected much from a secondary featuring 4 players in their first or second year.
There were some good things (I totally sound like I'm giving my "look on the bright side" speech to the boy after his sports team gets worked over). We "exploded" for 10 first quarter points. We had just 20 total in the previous 11 first quarters. Naaman Roosevelt showed some nice hands and great wheels (you can't tell me opting for the older, more expensive and more legally challenged Taj Smith over Roosevelt to start the year was a good decision). Tristan Jackson had a huge night returning kicks. Defense continued producing turnovers. Also, the Munroe belly rub is always a crown pleaser.
But for all the "moral victories" there was also a parade of errors, stupidity and general failure that remind you that we are deserving of our record. There was Demski damn near giving up a safety because he evidently has not played enough Canadian football to know you can't leave the endzone and then come back into it. There was the pure idiocy that was the timeout we took in the dying seconds of the game on defense. Apparently instead of spending Ottawa's timeout figuring out our play, we spent it gazing at the stars because when it came time to snap the ball we were dumbfounded and had to burn a timeout to figure things out. That cost us 20 seconds of game time and removed the tiny glimmer of hope that still existed for our offense to tie the game. Messam's hands quit working. Then of course there is the aforementioned inability to stop the pass. Given that we probably won't stop the pass anyway I suggest moving Munroe back to safety... it would at least deter coming over the middle.
By far the highlight of the night for me (and this is pretty sad) was Milo bouncing a kick off the upright. I spent the whole night saying he owed us a kick of the post for old time sakes and he did not disappoint. Another miss for Milo!!!!
In the end we came closer than I expected but the end result was not surprising at all.
Other random thoughts:
- Anytime we tried to run a somewhat unconventional play on O it failed miserably.
- The Riders must be starting to get concerned about attendance for the last 2 games. While free ticket offers used to abound in Riderville, they have not been seen around here since 2007. Well there was an add on the Maxtron for by 3 get one free Rider tickets. If you want attendance I recommend changing the offer to buy 3 drinks get one free. Or rotten tomato night. I have a ton of these ideas, Riders feel free to contact me to discuss further.