Riders 14 - Ottawa 40
Rider Nation is notoriously bi-polar on their view of the team based solely on the result of the last game. The 2018 season has been a perfect example of this. After a week 1 win, we were a super power in the west. I won't go as far as to say people were planning the parade route but I'm sure a few vacation requests for the Monday after Grey Cup were submitted. After Thursday's ass kicking, the sky is undoubtedly falling and many people have given up their season tickets (though if as many people actually gave up their tickets as claimed they were going to each year, attendance at Mosaic would be -5000). As always, the truth lies somewhere in between. The week 1 win covered up some issues on the team and the week 2 loss creates selective amnesia of the good things about the team.
Let's just tell it like it is. That game was an ass kicking. I have seen more appetizing things come out of my dog (either end). Ottawa thoroughly whooped us in every phase of the game. We had like 2 good plays from my count, the fake punt (well called, well executed) and the Williams-Lambert TD (though I'm convinced he ran the wrong route and snagged a pass intended for Roosevelt). Beyond that it was more ugly then when the lights come on in a bar at closing time.
The Riders are a team who need to rely on the strength of their defense at this point. And what you saw Thursday is what happens when a team built that way has their defense not show up. I don't know if it was the short week, or a product of Ottawa being fresh and having an extra week to plan or if they just crapped the bed on that day (likely some combo thereof) but the D just didn't have it. No pressure from the D-line and an infuriating refusal from Jones to adjust his calls to send more pressure led to a talented offense picking us apart. Overall I'm not too worried. This group is too talented not to bounce back. Aside from the Duron experiment. Look I love his pick 6's as much as anyone but he's simply not a great DB. Decent at best. Playing him at CB is the equivalent of swinging for the fences in baseball. Sure you will hit the odd home run but you will strike out a lot in the process. As per @DTonSC Carter was targeted 5 times one was a pick, the other 4 - 86 yds and a TD. Add a missed tackle on Powell and his back to back penalties (the second one was pretty chincy). He's admittedly a threat to score on any play but his odds of doing so on offense are way higher than on D. I get that logic isn't always our thing but I little dose of it would help here.
While I have faith that the D will rebound, I have minimal faith in our O at this point. The original draft of this post had me call our OL the worst in the league... then I watched Montreal play and am now adjusting that to worst OL among non-Kavis ran teams. Game 2 and our franchise QB is already too pummeled to finish a game. I get that Travis Bond may not be a future hall of famer but he was cut in favour of a guy who isn't even good enough to start full time. If we can't block we are screwed. Short of Josiah St John suddenly becoming the second coming of Gene Makowksy, I don't see an answer to this problem in the near future. A run game would help but of the 14 times our RBs ran, only 4 came in the first half. Because running more when you are down big is solid coaching. This "offense" has produced 2 TDs in in 2 games. That is unacceptable. There are Dungeons and Dragon enthusiasts our there who score more frequently. Our freakin' defense has matched that. Even if our D returns to form, we won't get far with an offense this impotent.
I'm not on the "Fire Jones" train or even burning his effigy (look, burning an all black effigy could have some unintended consequences in case you were considering it). It was 1 game. We are still tied for second in the west (also 5th but let's focus on the positive). Now's not the time to panic, though we do have some major issues to start addressing.
The schedule makers have served up a slow floater over the plate in our next match-up. If the same thing happens Friday, then it may be time to panic.