Riders 18 - Bombers 23
The 2018 season came to a disappointing but fitting end on Sunday. In a season that was marked by an inability to produce offensive points, that was unsurprisingly what did us in when it mattered most. We were just 1 TD short but really the game put our offensive shortcomings on full display.
Our offense wasn't very good at the best of times and Brandon Bridge starting is about as far opposite of best of times as it can get. I am not exactly a charter member of the Steve McAdoo fan club but I won't put this one on him. The plays were there. Receivers were open. We had our chances. He just had the misfortune of having to start at QB who could not come within an area code of hitting his receivers. Bridge missed at 2 open receivers for TDs on the same drive. He couldn't see wide open receivers. He threw short on deep passes, inside on outside passes, into the goal posts while overthrowing a WR in the endzone and generally displayed not ability to make a play if the first read was not there. Its not McAdoo's fault that Odell Willis knocked our good QB out of play. You could certainly blame the GM for getting this far into the season with a back-up QB who the best thing you can say about him is that he's better than Tino Sunseri. The only positive thing I can say about Bridge is that it was the best I've seen him run. Not awkward, decisive, resisted the urge to do his terrible attempt at hurdling. I thought we did a pretty good job of hiding his shortcomings in the first quarter, things slowly unraveled from there. I thought we failed to find ways to get speedy guys like Moore and Thigpen more involved. I do think we could have won if Collaros had played but coulda's count for as much as Alouette playoff tickets. He didn't play. We didn't have a good enough QB backing him up. End of story.
Defense played good... the only problem is that we are built to win with great defense. Good just doesn't cut it. The only real knock on the D was that they had no answer for the Bomber OL and Harris in the second half. We couldn't stop the run when it mattered most. We also weren't able to force a turnover. Still 3 sacks and only 23 point allowed is a pretty good day especially given that the Bombers were the top scoring O.
Special teams did their jobs. We got solid returns, made all out kicks and kept their returns to a minimum.
Losing sucks. Losing to the Bombers sucks more but they were the better team on Sunday. I now feel so dirty I need to go shower (something most Bomber fans don't feel the need to do). It was a good season, we have a lot to be proud of and a solid foundation to build from. But if we don't come up with a better plan at QB its hard to see a different finish in store.
Kudos to the fans that showed up and got loud. For me, nothing beats the roar of the crowd on game day. See you next season.
Obligatory comment on the head shot (again): Look the missed penalty did not affect the outcome of the game but it sucks balls to have it happen to us in back to back games. To me there is a pretty simple solution. The eye in the sky can be used to correct an offside call but yet in a league that preaches "player safety" it can't be used currently to call head shots. That makes absolutely no sense. I'm also all for ejections and suspensions for malicious head shots but those changes are not as easy to implement as simply letting the replay official call head shots.
Prophet thanks for all your hard work in putting together this blog and statistical analyse.
A few things that need to happen for 2019
Get rid of McAdoo
Get a bonafide QB 1 and back up
sign Jefferson and Egubon
Jones & McAdoo are besties so you hire one, you get both. Jones MO is to build a defence to hold opponents to 20 or less & the offence has to be just good enough. Hold onto the ball & ball control. You don't need a great QB, just a good one. None of the Rider QB's are good. Collaros has awful #'s. We saw this year what we saw in 2008, another QB collective who together threw more int's than td's. Went 12-6 with a good defence & quickly dispatched in the semi. Would we have won with Collaros? Who knows. He's played in games where he has zero TD's. Wpg plays them differently with Collaros as they have to respect the pass so those wide open receivers may have more guys back in cover. You're replaying not just those plays but the whole game is different. The 69 yard drive by Bridge was a "Bridge" drive, not Collaros. Why they would pull him & put in Watford to hand the ball off is classic Jones stuff. If you're putting him in to pass as Bridge couldn't find 82 open previously I can understand. But a running play? As much as Collaros was the story of the game was our inability to stop the Bomber offence. After moving to within 1 point at the end of the third quarter, Wpg had 3 drives in the 4th. The first ended in a FG & ate up 5 minutes. The second took 2 minutes & Harris rolled over them for a TD. The third with 2:35 left was Harris & Streveler for 2 first down when EVERYBODY knew the Bombers were running the ball. We loaded the box & couldn't get them off the field before the game was basically done. If we want to blame Bridge then why did we sign him? Gaga Rider fans were convinced there was a guy who might beat out Collaros. Everyone outside of Regina knew Bridge can't throw an accurate pass, has trouble on his reads. That was not news going into the season. Why kick Glenn out the door the day after Zach arrives? What's the hurry? Wasn't he even a cheaper option than Bridge? And if you're going to go that route, develop him. Taking him out after he takes the team down the field into scoring range & bringing in Watford in a playoff game is a pretty good indication of what you think of him. That is, if being under instructions to handoff, run or throw a pass no further than 2 yards wasn't enough proof already. Here's the problem for next year. You need a QB & there's a bunch of them out there. You have a reputation for running them in & out of the lineup at your whim, sometimes in the middle of a drive to bring in a fresh QB. That's one reason Nichols had to be traded out of Edmonton because he wasn't allowed to work his way through things when struggling & got the hook for Franklin. Franklin later became disenchanted with his treatment by the coaches as well - that's why he admitted he had no thoughts of joining the Riders. So how do you attract the big name QB's to go to Regina? You need to give them some better weapons on offence to get them there as well & who wants to play for McAdoo in his offence? The other side of the coin is with 12 wins don't think other teams don't have an eye on our free agents. Jefferson likely takes another kick at the can down south. He's still only 27. Charleston Hughes is signed but faded down the stretch & was invisible in the semi. At 35, don't expect another season like this one. Eguavoen needs to be signed. This was an incredible season but the chances of the defence having another record tying year in 2019 are slim. Records don't usually occur back to back. More likely a one off. Gainey had 10 int's last year, not so this year despite being the 2nd most targeted DB in the league (had a great year by the way). With all the movement coming up, everything is different next year. This was an opportunity missed especially when you see how badly the receiving groups for Calgary & Hamilton have been hit with injuries.
I'd don't think that throw that hit the upright was going to be on target anyway from the endzone look on the replay screen
An interesting comment from Suitor on TSN today. He says Jones was seen on the sidelines in the final minutes mouthing "We can't stop them". The run package was in but they couldn't get a stop. I don't agree often with Suitor but I agree that neither Bridge nor Collaros will be back. Fully agree Bridge was mismanaged & can't see why his agent would want him to sign there. Fully agree Jones can't have a QB who can't stay on the field. Time for the Riders to develop a QB unless they win the sweepstakes on someone coming available in February.
Anon 1 - McAdoo is not going anywhere. He is a package deal with Jones. Although we need an upgrade at QB I don't see us paying big money to get one. More likely we find an affordable option and spend on D.
Anon 2 - Agreed on most counts.
Gov - that pass wasn't going to come anywhere close to the receiver.
Anon 3 - He was right. We knew they were going to run, they did, we couldn't stop it. We don't want Bridge back and I'm not sure many others will be willing to take a chance on him. Yes he was curiously managed here but he's a 5 year vet with major flaws in his game. As for Collaros, I think we would be interested BUT given the concussion issues you couldn't count on him as a starter. If he'll stick around for back-up money, maybe. He's now a health risk that has shown minimal upside of late.
Can't ht an open receiver but can hit the goal post. Could not throw a spiral all game.Cant find a receiver EVER!
We would have been better to use Carter at corner and Nick Marshall at qb.
Haha I'm with you on the Marshall part.
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