Riders 37 - Als 12
How many wins do the Riders have this season? In the words of Billy Bob from the timeless classic Varsity Blues " Ten! A F*%#ing 10!" I feel the need to start on this point because there is a fair bit of negativity in the air following the Rider game on Friday, you know the one where we won by over 20 like some very astute prognosticator said we would. In the coming paragraphs I will join in said negativity but I feel compelled to remind people that a) we won and b) we have 10 wins and can clinch 3rd in the West with one more. (A year ago we would have killed for either of those to be true... we I personally wouldn't have killed just so we're clear but I'm sure some people would have).
The Riders have a habit of playing to the level of their competition. Beat some good West teams handily, almost lose to Ryan Lindley, beat the Stamps at home, etc... Friday was a continuation of this. If you had watched no other football than the first have you likely would have surmised that both teams were out of contention. Sloppy play, poor decisions, boneheaded mistakes on both sides. Fortunately things righted themselves in the second half when the Riders remembered they were good and the Als kept on being the Als.
Defense continued their strong play. Turnovers, sacks, shutting down the run, keeping the score very low. They did their job. We finally found out that Duron is not invincible as he was beating on a couple throws. He also has a clear habit of watching the ball looking for a big play rather than watching his receiver. With any luck we won't see him at CB when it matters most. Butler was fired up and made a ton of plays. Moncrief continues to impress me. And ho hum Ed Gainey got his tenth pick of the year by shear force. I still maintain that Jefferson is our Defensive MOP but 10 picks is still one hell of a feat. About the most entertaining thing that happened while we were on defense was when the announcer first called Matt Shiltz, Matt Schlitz. "Give me six schliztes. Ah F it whatever's free"
Offense was lucky they were playing a bad team. There wasn't a whole lot of good outside of Owens and Richardson. Glenn was shaky but that was one of the few times I would not have pulled him as he wasn't actually doing that bad. Especially considering that Bridge came in and forced it into triple coverage for a pick. Between Crapigna's two uncharacteristic misses and Grant's already much mocked hot dogging we left 13 points on the field. More when you consider that do due how terrible the Als are we routinely starting in their end (I mean one punt was so awful that it netted 11 yards). But as I said, Owens was good and it was nice to see us be able to close out a game by running it down their throats (20+ rushes is always a Prophet pleaser). Lots to clean up but It was nice to see Glenn not be completely useless. More importantly I actually like a lot of what we did offensively (at least conceptually). The sweeps to Owens, the actually emphasis on the run, getting Christion Jones involved on not a blind deep pass. Some actual creativity. If you add that to a healthy Roosevelt and an actually involved offensively Carter, good things could be in-store in the playoffs.
Overall while the game was sloppy, the outcome was a lopsided win over a team we were supposed to beat. Would I preferred we did it without the all the crap? You bet but a win is a win. And the bigger thing is we seemed to emerge mostly healthy (something the Bombers wish was the case). I am jacked for a meaningful November game at Mosaic!
Other random thoughts:
- Too bad the University section isn't a thing anymore. The malfunctioning mic during the anthem was their time to shine.
- Off the 110 yards along the sidelines, I'll never understand why Cox decided to use the one containing a ref to enter the field. Stupid. By the way, the penalty call on that should clerly be "Illegal use of Cox"
- The first PI call on Montreal was BS in my opinion
- I love how the Riders have legit stopped even pretending to try for halftime entertainment. By this time next year they may either just turn the jumbo tron to TSN or actually do nothing at all.
- Christion Jones is legit (more quality analysis) that stat of him having 1000 return yards in 9 games was eye popping. There were times in Rider history where 1000 return yards would have taken us 1001 kicks. Blocking for him has been solid.
- I love Durant but personally I thought the video was a bit much. Show him on screen, cheer him but save the sappy video for when he retires.