Riders 9 - Stampeders 15
Regular readers will probably have glossed over the title of this post and assumed it was just one of the myriad of spelling/grammar errors that permeate this blog. In fact, it was a very clever joke. What's missing? .... The letter O was missing... the O was missing... get it?... well the joke loses some of its ingeniousness when I have to explain it like this. LEt's just assume you all think I'm witty and move on.
Sunday the Riders Defense played one of their best games of the season. They allowed 0 TDs, just 15 points and forced 2 turnovers against one of the best Offenses in the League all while losing the time of possession battle by 10 minutes and spending a ton of time on the field. It was an incredible effort. Unfortunately timing was not on their side as they timed this great effort with an absolute dud of an offensive performance. For the first 55 minutes they did nothing and it was too little, too late when they finally decided to be useful. Though in true Rider fashion they did just enough to get our hopes up before dashing them.
Give credit where credit it due, the Stamps are far and away the best defense in the league for a reason. That said, in the freakin' CFL where every rule favours the offense, to not must even a solitary rouge on offense in 55 minutes is an embarrassment. Yet again we had not ability to deal with the pressure and didn't seem inclined to call plays that would compensate for that save for that outside run to Morris that went for 9 yards and we never went back to and that screen to LaFrance that was called back on penalty. Loosing Roosevelt certainly hurt us and Carter was clearly not running at 100% (plus had one of his head not in the game games) and saw a ton of Tommie Campbell. So that meant we essentially spend the day trying to mount a passing attack with Grant, Holley, Bagg and Bailey against the top D in the League. It didn't work. We were super close to a couple big plays but close doesn't count for anything... except when it comes to restraining orders, trust me on that one.
Special teams had a really good day in coverage. Bartel had one of his best days punting this season and our cover teams filled in the rest. Returns were a different story. Jones went too much east-west for my liking and we ran into the kicker a couple times... only once according to the refs.
As I expected we went toe to toe with the best and stood our ground but spend too much time idle on offense and made too many mistakes to beat a team as good as the Stamps. This was a defensive performance we can be proud of and build on... and an offensive performance that was a lot like my love making abilities, too late in getting started and once it does, over before anything really productive happened. Gotta regroup and get back at it in a short week.
Other random thoughts:
- During the usual chorus of boos that serenade the introduction of Proulx as the ref, I strongly defended him saying he's one of the best refs in the league. He proceeded to screw up the coin toss thus totally disarming my defense of him.
- As nasty as it was (haven't seen a guy that motionless for that long in a long time), I don't think there was intent on the defender to head shot Roosevelt (it certainly wasn't as bad as the Awe hits). That said, if you are serious about player safety, those are the type of hits our need to get out of the game.
- I don't mind the fake punt call but the execution was atrocious. When a play is based entirely on the element of surprise, Adams can't stand there and let the defense adjust before snapping the ball.
- Said it last week and I'll say it again. Bridge is a terrible and awkward scrambler. He does not look natural at all at it. I don't using his legs to roll out and extend plays but he sucks at actually running. Hopefully he will think twice about trying to jump over people. Of the 3 times I've seen him do it, one went for a TD, one the ball was fumbled out of bounds and one he got pounded. Not a great success ratio.
- Those 2 breakups Butler had on those screens were outstanding defense.
- Its a good thing I've curtailed my gambling because if you had told me we were going to hold the Stamps to 15 points and no TDs I would have bet my house, kids' college fund and kidney on a Rider win.