Riders 35 - Lions 16
Saturday's victory is brought to you by the letter D. D for defense, D for Dominant, D for... Donuts (I ran out of relevant D words).
Saturday night the Riders had a chance to lock up a home playoff game and take a big step towards possibly finishing first and man did they ever seize that opportunity. BC was behind in the game from the get go and but for a brief period at the start of the 3rd where Purifoy had about the worst back-to-back plays you can imagine, they were never really even close. If you had told me prior to the game that Collaros would get KO'd and Bridge would complete 4 passes in relief I would have openly wept (I would not have been shocked but wept nonetheless). But it turns out that out D decided they were going to win it on their own and our run game decided to join in the fun.
Let's start on D. It's fitting that in a season that we relied so heavily on their unworldly play that they would step up and do it again in the regular season finale. That first half was unbelievable. They allowed nothing. 2 points, very few yards and that was despite the offense fumbling on our side of half. Sutton was a complete non-factor and they really only allowed two long completions. Toss in 2 return TDs to tie the CFL record and you have a dominant performance. Willie Jefferson is our MOP there should not even be a debate at this point. Tobi Antigha is a hell of a player. He had a sack (as D-ends tend to do), a pick (as our D-ends tend to do) and should have had another pick when he had blanket coverage on a deep pass. Not many guys can you count on both rush the QB and cover 20 yards downfield. He's a special talent. If we get that level of play from that unit come playoffs: look out.
O would likely have been a very different story if Odell Willis hadn't blatantly tried to end Collaros' season. Collaros was looking dialed in early. Doesn't seem right to me that a guy can get pulled for concussion protocol while the guy who used an illegal hit to put him in that condition gets to continue playing but what do I know? What I do know, actually is that Cameron Marshall is awesome! We needed an offensive strategy that involved Bridge doing as little as possible and Marshall stepped up in a big way. I will also give a huge shout out to the O-line. Marshall ran well but he was aided by some nice holes by the boys up front. For the whole second half BC knew we were running but could not stop us. Shawn Lemon was non-existent in the game. That's back to back weeks where the line held their own against a good opposing front 4. Kyran Moore had a solid game. Not sure why neither Roosevelt or Lambert weren't more of a focus but given that I spent most of the game cringing anytime Bridge did not handoff the ball I won't complain too much given the success we had.
We currently sit in first place and god willing, Wally Buono will give Rider Nation the best parting gift ever and beat the Stamps next week (I was just joking all those times I told you to get off the field, we're cool right?). But even if it does not come to pass we have a home playoff game. We also have the best record against west division teams at 7-3. We have beat every West playoff team twice. Style wise it wasn't pretty to watch at times but the results are damn impressive! We are good team and will be a force to reckoned with come November.
Honestly the only negative from Saturday (other than the Collaros BS) was the lack of fans. For a province that supposedly has the best fans there were sure a lot of empty seats for such an important game in great weather. Better get your butts to the stadium come playoff time.
Other Random Thoughts:
- Bridge has no touch on his passes. They are all the same panicked, 100 mile an hour fast ball... even on 3 yard passes.
- I know Jefferson does great work in our community but Jovon Johnson got robbed in the award for community service. He's made it damn near a full-time job.
- Alex Gagne leads the league in Special Teams tackles yet I bet most people don't even know who he is.
- Didn't notice him much but given our run defense, I assume Lavar Edwards did okay in his debut.
- Zach Evans leads all Evans' in touchdowns this season.
- Home playoff game WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO