Riders 40 - Bombers 43 (OT)
We hoped coming into the season that the Riders could be a competitive team. Not a dominant one, not a really good one, but competitive. Through 2 games in 2017 that's what we've seen. But here's the problem with competitive teams... they aren't good enough to overcome mistakes. That was the story on opening night at New Mosaic, mistakes... well that and crazy long, slow lines for drastically overpriced food and beverage. Look if you are going to gouge me you could at least do it efficiently.
It's easy to scapegoat Crapigna (are those goal posts regulation size or what?) but he was far from the only one to screw up. Pissing away yet another winnable game was a total team effort. In addition to the kicker there were our coaches. There errors were certainly less egregious than last week but the same old refusal to run and reliance on the super-ineffective 3 man rush were there (though for the sake of the children's ear around me I was glad we were mercifully spared a Bridge appearance). The was the Greg Morris fumble and Kevin Glenn's really bad INTs (spoiling an overall solid outing). There was the defense who on consecutive plays chose to cover Weston Dressler with Kevin Francis and air. The whole 3rd quarter in general was an absolute monstrosity to watch (the score was 31- 16 in the other 3 quarters). On their own none of these mistakes are fatal (well minus the whole 3 TDs in 6 minutes thing) but when you combine this many mistakes with a mediocre team the results tend to be as expected.
It was nice to see our offense put up points after a lackluster first outing. It was nice to see the penalties decrease. It was nice to see us get within an area code of the QB (on those rare occasions when a 4th or 5th guy clearly defied the play call and ran at the QB. Quite frankly it was just nice to have a game that the crowd could really get into (love that volume). But it's tough to focus on those positives when the end result was another loss. The first 3 games on our schedule are among the easiest ones we are going to get and we are 2 thirds through that and still winless. The don't award W's based on positives and hopefulness.
We need to address our secondary as its a giant liability. Jovon Johnson is the best we have. I think Rogers is holding his own more often than not. The rest... off. Gainey is have a bad year. Lyles is struggling. Sam Williams is struggling. And Hecht, well he' s the mediocre at best safety we knew he was coming into the season. Matt Nichols exposed that group, what do you think Reilly, Harris, Mitchell and Jennings will do? Now of course a normal coach would try and compensate for poor coverage by not hanging them out to dry with zone coverage and no pressure on the QB but no one asked me for input on our defensive schemes, or concession logistics, or anything for that matter. I have a lot of good opinions to offer that are going to waste.
This team isn't hopeless as they are two kicks away from being 1-0-1 (a tie was the best we were doing in OT) but mistakes still are way too common and until that happens there is little reason for optimism.