Riders 7 - Bombers 22
Well I hope you all enjoyed that brief reprieve from misery and losing because Sunday we came crashing back to the reality.
You would think that its almost impossible to lose a game where you get 5 first half turnovers, allow 3 first half points, see your opponents miss a FG inside the 30 and face Matt Nichols. I use the term "almost impossible" because if there is a way to lose a game, the 2015 Riders will find it. I hear that following the game Matt Nichols was busy trying to convince the Bombers to trade him just so he can play the Riders a few more times this season. We are great for his career.
After a season where an inept defense had been holding back our offense, there was a role reversal on Sunday. The D played an outstanding first half! True they did slowly regress in the second half to the very soft, easy to beat D we have been used to but its hard to blame them when the offense turns in a performance so awful that it makes Brian Brohm seem like an offensive juggernaut by comparison. I counted exactly 4 plays the offense made all game: the Bagg TD (which was one of the most amazing displays of leg work you will ever see), the pass the Ryan Smith where he made a juke on the sidelines, the long Brett Smith run and the long Messam run. That was it. Short of the other team being forced to forfeit due to misplacing all their helmets simultaneously, you simply won't win a game with 4 offensive plays.
To be blunt, Smith was awful. I still believe in his potential but at this point he is a mediocre at best passer in terms of accuracy who compensates by being a fricken Houdini in the backfield and moving around until he can make a play. He is honestly a worse passer in a clean pocket than running for his life. To be fair though, it was not all Smith's fault. His O-line was terrible. I've seen broken condoms that offer better protection. Even with all his Houdini ability, Smith could not reasonably be expected to avoid as many defenders as we routinely let through. Smith was also saddled with an OC who showed a complete inability/unwillingness to adjust his game plan to the pressure the Bombers were sending. Chapdelaine was content to watch his O-line and QB get assaulted rather than try making some adjustments like WR screens, swing passes, etc... to counter the pressure. The Bombers had our O figured out from the start and we didn't bother changing it, we just played right into their hands.
We also saw the return of our old friend piles of penalties. We have a hard enough time beating other teams on even terms let alone when we start handing yards over in the form of penalties. Ray Early had a pretty bad day of kicking... another factor working against us. Even our coaches made some pretty obvious mistakes. On that fake punt I was screaming at my TV from the second the Bombers took to the field that it was going to be a fake (I really need a Smart TV that will automatically connect me to the coach's headset). It was so obvious, yet we were completely caught off-guard by it. If a whiskey drinking guy who occasionally wears a beard a robe out in public can figure it out then maybe the people who actually get paid to do that kind of thing should be able to figure it out.
Based on how the first half went, if we had any semblance of an offense we likely would have won that game. But the reality is that we are 1 and 10 for a reason and that reason is that we aren't a very good football team. The only good thing to come out of that game is that maybe people will finally shut up about the playoff pipe dream. It was fun to pretend for a week that there was a team worse than us but Sunday's loss solidifies our spot at the bottom of the standings. Buckle up, the back-half of this season could get ugly.
Other random thoughts
- I like Macho as a person and thought highly of him last season but for the life of me I'm not sure why we still think he deserves to be a starting LB. He has been all kinds of awful this year.
- As crazy as that list of 8 different Bomber QBs in 8 years is, what's crazier is that of that list, the 3 QBs who have now beaten us in the Banjo Bowl are Jyles, Goltz and Nichols. That's pretty depressing.
- How much does the Rum Hut pay TSN for advertising to be promoted that much on air?