Riders 38 - Argos 27
Well I'm glad the Riders won, because if we would have had to sit in heat that I can only assume makes ovens seems refreshing, only to watch the Riders lose, I'm pretty sure that would legally be considered a form of torture. But they didn't lose, for once things went according to plan. The more rested and healthy hometown team took advantage of a depleted team on a short week of rest and won. It seems so obvious but for the better part of the 3 years "according to plan" has been synonymous with "lost" in these parts so you'll forgive our general surprise.
Most people don't like to toot their own horns... but I am not one of them. Toot! Toot! Toot! In my pregame write up I gave 2 primary keys offensively: wear them down with a strong running game and feed Duron the ball. That was exactly what happened. Marshall got a season high 18 carries (and rewarded the workload with an impressive 6 yard per carry average) and Duron put on an absolute show. It was unreal. He had about 3-4 highlight reel catches but none great than the TD reception that everyone is talking about. That is one of the greatest football plays I have ever seen live. The term mind blown is thrown around rather liberally these days but that play blew my mind. I was in the middle of cursing Kevin Glenn for a poor throw when Duron defied logic and a few rules of physics to haul that TD. Anyway, long story short, I was right and people should listen to me more often. (I'm married so I need to look outside the home for people that will listen to me and believe I'm smart)
While we ended the game strong, we started pretty pitifully. Our defense was... well they were our defense and showed a complete inability to defend the pass. Not sure you'll see that many uncovered men outside of a porno. For a while it seemed like out defensive plan was to hope leaving receivers completely uncovered would confuse and disarm Ricky Ray. It failed. Honestly when I look up and see anyone but #1 in coverage when the ball is thrown, I worry. Jovon Johnson has been a very unheralded defensive player this year. He is far an away the best thing we have going in the secondary (though admittedly the bar is pretty low). There were some good things that happened defensively but make no mistake about it, this was a game that our offense carried our defense... and that's ok.
Kevin Glenn evidently loves the new stadium and hates the road. In 3 home games he has 10 passing TDs and 2 rushing TDs... in 2 road games he has one passing TD, that's it. While we will have to deal with our road woes at some point (like hopefully this week), gotta love the firepower Glenn brings on home turf.
While many will point to the Carter TD (which I'm sure left a few pants soaked in more than just sweat) as the turning point, I say it was that idiotic move by Johnny Sears that really turned things. All he had to do was lean slightly forward and touch Grant who was lying on the ground and we punt the ball back to Toronto with 3 minutes on the clock and only a 3 point lead. Hands up if you have confidence our defense would have stopped them... anyone with their hands up is a liar. It could easily have been a very different outcome. Though who knows, the way Duron was playing we could have scored another TD if we needed to.
Overall it was a team doing what they needed to emerge with a win and it was great to see. It took until Week 13 last season to get out second win, so this is a pretty good feeling.
Other random thoughts:
- Just another week where Tyler Crapigna puts the "In Ya" in Crapigna. He's proving that the team's confidence in him despite his rocky start was well deserved.
- I still can't get over how McAdoo actually ran the ball consistently. I love it!
- Kevin Glenn likes Caleb Holley and having him as the fourth option again is a big boost to our offense.
- Love the onside kick! Not only did it maintain momentum for us (even if it didn't lead to points), its also a tendency breaker as now future teams will be forced to keep an eye out for it.
- Duron Carter gave the TD ball from THE catch to a 12 year old cancer survivor. For all the circus that follows him on the field, off the field he has been outstanding with the fans. This weekend Jovon Johnson also held a charity BBQ for Lyme disease. We are quick to jump on players for their transgressions, but the vast majority do outstanding things like these all the time in the community that rarely get talked about.