Riders 19 - Stampeders 42
I award you 100 bonus points if you made it through the entire Rider game on Saturday (note: bonus points are redeemable for beer tokens at 2015 Rider playoff games only). It's hard to even complain as its not like you didn't know what you were getting yourself into when you tuned in. I believe the legal term is "voluntary assumption of risk".
While I knew we were going to lose (and badly), it just seems that the football gods are piling on at this point. I mean we are a bad enough team, no need to take 3 Canadians away with injuries... two of which actually have shown potential this year. Those 2 being MacDougall and Ainsworth. The 3rd person's name rhymes with Mets Laugh. That took an already bad situation and somehow made it worse. I'm pretty sure we were just 1 or 2 injuries away from Matt Vonk having to move into the secondary. Though I'm not sure he could have been any worse than the ones we did line up.
Let's start with the positive things I saw. Roosevelt is a stud, pure and simple. The effort he showed to fight for that TD in a game so devoid of meaning tells me a lot about the kind of player he is. Bright future for that guy. Tyler Crapigna has yet to miss a kick. It seems kinda odd to praise a guy for literally doing the only thing we pay him for but at this point competence at your craft is a rare things... especially in our kicking game. I noticed Denicos Allen around the ball a lot which is a good sign for a rookie LB. He wasn't making any game breaking plays but he was involved in the play and actually tackled... again not something that should impress me but my expectations have been lowered. Woldu made some plays which was nice to see. For the second straight week a rookie RB showed some flashes, good work Stephen Houston.
In terms of the QBs, I like the trajectory Smith is on. He's not throwing picks. His reads are slowly improving. He still needs to be more consistent in his play but I've seen growth in his game. As for Price, he's got some flaws to his game but he looks like he belongs on the field (which puts him ahead of last season's back-ups). He's got a bit of that Durant houdini quality in him and uses his legs well. Unlike Smith though he prefers to throw rather than run. He's got a strong arm. His biggest flaw is that he's in love with his big arm. He focuses too much on his deep options and stretching the field and not enough on the short/medium stuff. There was a long completion to Dressler that was a hell of a gain but a stupid throw... it was clearly into double coverage it just somehow dropped into Dressler hands (who by the way it was nice to see have a big game again). Its something that coaching and more experience can work out of him but he needs to learn he can't score on every play. I still believe in his potential. I honestly think if he'd had the playing time Smith has, he'd be ahead of where Smith is now.
I could get in depth on our defensive issues but it would be a regurgitation of super obvious things you've heard lots before... Marshay Green can't tackle (or apparently understand what PI is), Tristan Jackson has a ton of heart but no ability to play HB etc, etc. Given how randomly strung together our offense was I was just surprised we didn't let Bo Levi Mitchell break Dunnigan's 713 yards passing record. Just for fun we should have had the D-line and the secondary switch spots for a series. Not like it would have made much of a difference.
The end result was exactly what you'd expect when a team vying for first place plays the worst team in the league. Let's just all be happy Quick 6 didn't somehow kick a FG on us. On second thought, that would have been awesome! Cheer up though Rider fans. As much as this season sucks just remember it could be worse. The Blue Bombers will miss the playoffs for a 4th straight year and see their Grey Cup drought extend to at least a quarter century. Both feats are a damn near statistical impossibility in a 8-9 team league.
Other random thoughts:
- When our kick cover teams (who have been stellar all year) had a rough start, you had to know that didn't bode well for the team.
- I would have chipped in towards his fine to see Tearrius George head butt Drew Tate again. i don't condone dirty play I just really loathe Tate,