Riders 40 - Stampeders 27
So the Riders who were unable to beat the gong-show Alouettes, whose offense could best be described by poop emoji and whose off-field drama has consumed the media for the past week plus managed to hang 40 points on an undefeated team while their head coach (a man who hasn't been seen not wearing black in years) wore a green t-shirt on the sidelines... the CFL is a wild and whacky league man.
The Stamps were undefeated coming into this game because they play solid in all 3 phases and make very few mistakes. So how do you go about beating that? Play solid in all 3 phases and make very few mistakes. It may not always be easy to do but its not rocket science. The Riders turned in a full team effort AND gave that effort for a full 60 minutes. The result was a convincing win over the best team in the league.
One of the biggest keys to the victory was starting strong. Coming into this game the team had 1 total first quarter point at home this season and most will recall the 24 point deficit they incurred last time the Stamps were in town. They flipped that script on Sunday, scoring on their first 2 offensive drives and adding a pick 6 to build up 14-0 lead after the first quarter. Actually if you ignore the part where I predicted the Riders to lose, my pre-game analysis was pretty solid. Called the need to start strong, called the need for a couple turnovers, mentioned Nick Marshall being important, nailed Williams-Lambert needing a 100 yard game. Also nailed this one: "I expect them to come out guns a blazing (and
by that I mean defense will be awesome and offense will score 2 FGs" All in all it was a good week for Prophet.
But enough blatant tooting of my own horn, let's talk more about that great game.
We have an offense people! Zach Collaros was dialed in. Read the D well. Hung in the pocket to make some tough throws. Protected the ball. Pushed things down field. Its amazing how much having a competent QB can change this. Don't often hear me say this but credit to McAdoo. Game plan was pass heavy early was balanced overall. Found a way to rely on a WR not named Roosevelt. O-line wasn't always pretty but they once again allowed 0 sacks and kept Collaros pretty clean. Cofield had his struggles but wasn't the train wreck I was expecting (he's also built more like one of our receivers than OL). We will still need to turn more of those FGs into TDs if we want the wins to keep coming but when you put up 26 offensive points against the best defense in the CFL you had a damn good night.
Defense was yet again outstanding. 5 sacks, 5 turnovers, 1 TD. Interesting stat for you. In 6 non-Rider games the Stamps have turned the ball over 5 times. In 2 Rider games they have done so 8 times!! Chris Jones may have them figured out. There are few feelings more satisfying than seeing Bo Levi Mitchell look confused and panicked. He's used to damn near impenetrable protection from his line and time to calmly pick apart opposing defenses. We had him under siege all night and he looked lost at times trying to figure out what the D was doing. Granted he still threw for 4 TDs but the played things perfectly while protecting a sizable lead. Charleston Hughes is an amazing player to watch. 11 sacks in 8 games (putting him on pace for 24 sacks). Remember that this is a guy that 2 teams deemed expendable this offseason. Seems Matt Elam's main weaknesses is not being allowed to dress due to a roster error. When we overcome that he's a pretty good player. He's very strong. On his one sack he just blew through the RB like he was a piece of cardboard. Yet another solid outing by the defensive unit.
One of the most telling parts of the game was when the Stamps had that strong 3rd quarter and pulled within 11 points. Rather than crumble and find ways to lose. The Riders stayed clam and grinded out the W. That's the character of a winning team.
This was the first time this year that the Riders put in a full 60 minute game in all 3 phases. If they can find a way to continue that then things could be looking very bright in the second half of the season. That said, just like the world wasn't ending when we lost to the Als, we are not suddenly destined for the Grey Cup after 1 win (no matter how impressive). Lots of season left to go but certainly lots of reasons to be excited going forward.
Other random thoughts:
- I'm not a big live mic fan but one of the benefits has been TSN capturing some great Chris Jones moments. There was the clip of him having Thiggy and Christion Jones stand beside him to make him look tall a few weeks back and yesterday the mics caught Collaros pre-game asking Jones "What? They didn't have a black one for you?" to which Jones replied "Its coming next week". I love those reminders that Jones does indeed have a soul.
- Seriously, he can now not take off that green shirt until we lose right? He's undefeated in green shirt games
- I get that Marshall was a QB so you have to respect the pass but anyone who has watched film on McAdoo should know that if a QB other than Bridge or Collaros goes in there is a 99.9% chance that its a QB run.
- Big props to the crowd for being loud and disrupting the Stamps O. Rare to see them take 1 let alone 2 time counts.
- Weekly reminded that Brett Lauther is a stud.