Riders 32 - RedBlacks 33
There is an old saying, when you live by the sword, you die by the sword. I don't really know what it means but when in Rome... Actually, the point that I'm trying to make (and that you probably long ago quit trying to decipher) is that after weeks of living on the edge in terms of squeaking out victories they likely should not have, the Riders found themselves on the wrong side of that edge and lost one they should have won. It was a case of too many mistakes being made in all phases and those allowing the RedBlacks to stick around in a game we could have buried them in.
Chris Jones is clearly a more patient man than me. I would have pulled Kevin Glenn long before half time. He looked like utter crap. And it wasn't just the INTs (though those were very costly), he just looked spooked in the pocket: happy feet, indecisive, poor throw when he did finally pull the trigger. He didn't look comfortable or confident. Jones' patience was somewhat rewarded as Glenn finished strong-ish. Things turned around about the time he realized he should just throw to Carter on every play (what a monster game Duron had). Even when Glenn was playing good, our O was handicapped by just the continued mind boggling play calling of Steve McAdoo. Ever think that maybe our ground game sucks because the rare times we do run its the same run up the middle every time? Not McAdoo. Ever think running the ball once when you have the ball on the 6 yard line is a good idea? Not McAdoo. He called 2 pass plays then went incomplete and forced a FG (one of oh so many on the night). Ever think that running the ball the wind down the clock when you have the lead and there's under 3 mins? Not Steve McAdoo. He threw on 3 of the 4 plays. What the hell?!? I realize that I may not be an expert on offensive play calling (I mean I was the OC of a my boys tackle team and they failed to score a point for 4 games) but even I can figure out this basic stuff that would greatly improve our odds of winning. Had Glenn thrown one less pick, or had score just one more TD rather than 6 FGs then we win. But close only counts in horse shoes and restraining orders (or so I hear).
Defense finally shut down the run and even added 2 turnovers. But unlike previous weeks where they bailed us out by locking things down in the 4th, they uncharacteristically crumbled. We noticeably dialed up the pressure compared to previous weeks but failed to get much contact on Harris (or when we did we jumped straight into his head) so we sent more guys but didn't have much to show for it. Injuries were certainly a factor as a couple guys had to start that wouldn't normally. We saw both ends of the spectrum there. On the good side was Derrick Moncrief who continues to impress me. On the bad side was Chris Lyles who was a liability just like when he previously manned the HB. He was brutal. We are just lucky Harris over threw a lot because he got beat repeatedly. One play in particular bothered me. They threw towards Lyles and he came up limping visibly. Instead of going down he pretended he was tough and stayed in. I called from the stands that I would go right back after him... and they did. He got beat (again) but was bailed out by an overthrow. Hope Rogers heals up soon.
Its not a catastrophic loss as our spot in the playoffs is still extremely likely but for a team that has developed a knack for finding ways to win (what you need to be successful in the postseason) they flipped the script and found ways to lose (not what you want this time of year). Lots of things that need to be worked on as we head towards the post season. Give Ottawa credit as they are a good team but we could have taken them down but failed.
Other random thoughts:
- When we actually started feeding him the ball Richardson was not terrible. He should limit himself to only one cut though as he is far too slow for that second cut to do anything useful. That said, he showed me a lot more in the run game than LaFrance did. If you are going to dress him, might as well feed him the rock.
- So I called for Christion Jones to be more involved in the offense but blindly throwing a deep ball to him for what would be his second offensive touch was not what I had in mind. Yes he seemed to have run the wrong route but Glenn threw it before he made his cut. You can likely pull that with our real receivers but maybe find less risky ways for a guy with one offensive touch to get involved. He sure is deadly on returns though.
- The pass interference call on Gainey was bunk (do kids still say that these days?) that said, we never should have let it come to that. Also, Gainey has been looking a lot more like Gainey from the first few games of late (i.e. not very good) rather than Gainey for the middle of the season (i.e. monster).
- I love how the half time show was essentially lets bring out all the guys from the '07 team who still live in Regina and have nothing better to do anyway.