Riders 19 - Eskimos 12
Happy Thanksgiving to all... well except those from Edmonton. Not a great day for those people. But for the rest of us, it was a great day. Well, more specifically it was a not so great day with an ending that made up for the rest of it. But as long as we keep going home happy I'm not about to complain about the rest of it.
We've been wondering for 3 weeks where our dominant defense was. Well Monday they came storming back with authority. 5 sacks, 3 INTs, less than 50% completion, zero TDs allowed and a massive pick six from Big Willie High Stepper himself. They were dominant in this game and it was only because of their effort that we managed to win despite struggling in the other 2 phases of the game. In the 4th quarter with our hopes waning they pitched a shutout and added the aforementioned TD. A lot of things did not go well for the Riders on Monday but defense was not one of them. I'll forgive them the couple stupid penalties they took because they more than made up for it. I don't like having to rely this heavily on the D but its a hell of a feeling knowing we have a D capable of putting a whole team on its shoulder and willing it to victory.
I was cautioning people who were getting excited about our re-surging offense after the past 2 weeks. What you saw was what happens when we play a team not currently eliminated from the playoffs (though its not looking great for Maas and crew at this point). We had absolutely no run game or push up the middle. Mason's longest run was 5 yards. Not sure why we didn't try running Thiggy outside but far be it from me to question the genius of McAdoo and his close to record low number of offensive TDs. Collaros was not terrible (minus that pick). If Kenny Shaw could catch Collaros would have had a TD. If we hadn't taken a useless holding penalty on Marshall's long run we may have had another. We just could not get out of our own way. I was a huge huge fan of the absence of Stanford in the offense. Though new Getzlaf (Brian Jones) is not that much of an improvement.
Brett Lauther proved to be human, missing 2 key FGs that would likely have been a far bigger deal had Willie not saved the day. Bartel also had a couple bad kicks. Overall special teams did not have a great day. We have proven we can win games on defense and special teams. Makes it a lot harder when only one of those shows up.
We failed to score an offensive TD, we missed 2 FGs, took over 100 yards in penalties and still emerged with a win. That's been the Riders' style this year. I can think of no more fitting way for us to hit double digit wins and book our playoff spot. The win maintains our 2 game lead for a home playoff game. We also managed to tie Edmonton in the season series. The next tie breaker should it come down to it is winning percentage in West division games. At this point we win that. Essentially we are a win away from a home playoff game. That should have us all high stepping like Willie.
Other random thoughts:
- The turkey sack celebration is among my favourites. Gobble, gobble.
- Not sure if it was just my perception but Devon Bailey often looked lost pre-snap, with people constantly having to direct him.
- If you get sacked by Sam Hurl you should hang your head in shame.
- There were no less than 4 trains during the game. Whoever schedules trains at CP must hate the Riders.
- I don't get this world. When Andre Proulx gets announced as ref there is a chorus of boos even though he is a good ref. When Al Bradbury announced as ref their is silence despite the fact that he is far far worse than Proulx. Get your hatreds right people!