Riders 17 – Ti-Cats 23
Three plays. Three F’N plays!!
I was among the more optimistic people when it came to Collaros, but even I knew there was no way he was playing 18 games. Still, even the most pessimistic of folks had to think he would last more than 1:04 into 2019. It marked the third time in three straight non-preseason games where our QB was the victim of a brutal headshot. It also marked the 3rd straight time where the consequences for the perpetrator were next to zero. Player safety my ass! If the league and the players association really cared about player safety, headshots would be an immediate ejection followed by a minimum 1 game suspension. But they don’t care. Neither side. If I’m Zach Collaros I would asking the CFLPA for a refund on my union dues because unless they support stiff suspension for Simoni Lawrence rather than appealing his suspension and getting it reduced to a fine (which is my guess for how this plays out) then they really aren’t doing a damn thing to protect his interests.
Dirty headshot aside, the Riders actually had a chance to win by following the same script as last year. Strong defense, hard running and a pass game so simple I could use it on a team of 7 year olds. We have perfected the system and it works great… unless you do something like give up a TD on special teams. We aren’t really built to overcome that.
Defense had a great outing. Not flashy but rock solid. Less then 170 yards passing allowed. Less than 70 yards rushing allowed. 1 sack. 4 tackles for a loss. Only 1 TD allowed. The only thing they lacked was a turnover. Basically Marshall got caught biting up once. You take that play away and its less than 200 yards and no TDs allowed. I would say Jason Shivers passed his first test with flying colours. Which is good because basically him and his defensive unit will have to carry us… I mean carry even more than originally expected. They were always going to have to carry us.
Maybe if Collaros had stayed in we would have seen a more inspired offensive game plan but I’m not so sure. The old McAdoo staples were on full display. Short passes when big yards are needed. Hitch screens. Randomly and inexplicably switching QBs when the other one has a good drive going. Shot gun formation on 3rd and short (and then running directly up the middle at Ted Laurent, the biggest man on the field). To be fair to McAdoo, Cody Fajardo looked god awful when he attempted to do anything but run. His passes rarely got within the area code of where it was supposed to and his feet kept moving like he was performing the god damn river dance. If you want some numbers to back up his sucktitude, he only completed 52% of his passes despite only attempting a pass greater than 9 yards twice! (granted a couple were on his receivers) I’m glad we got to see what we have in Harker. He was decisive, quick in getting his passes out and willing to stretch the field… all qualities that will likely put him in McAdoo’s doghouse.
Now before we start building statues of the guy and naming our babies Isaac, let’s wait and see how his second appearance goes. He looked good but there was no way Hamilton game planned for him or bothered to track down film from the Colorado School of Mines. Let’s see how he does now that teams have some film on him. Second game is always the true test of a rookie QB.
We didn’t play that great in 2 of 3 phases and still had a chance to win. It was self-inflicted wounds that ultimately hurt us (you know, aside from the intentional brain wound that Lawrence inflicted). Punt coverage cost us 7 points. Brett Lauther cost us 4… he makes his kicks and the final drive is for an FG not a TD which would have drastically changed things… McAdoo would have had time for like 3 hitch screens.
Collaros is done for the foreseeable future, possibly forever. That means our season now hinges on either Harker or Farjardo. The good news is that offense isn’t something we are used to so it won’t drastically affect our approach.
Other random thoughts:
- Losing a QB and starting Cdn OL in game 1 is about as close to worst case scenario as it gets. Zach Evans was also briefly out. It got so bad that when I finally saw an injured Ti-Cat my first reaction was “oh thank god its them for once!”. Yes, I know, I’m a bad person... at least I didn't cheer.
- Overall I thought Dickenson did okay in his debut. My only issues with him were the wasted challenge (there was no chance that was going to be successful) and the 3rd and 2 from shotgun (which may be a McAdoo thing). Some didn’t like the 4th quarter gamble on the 3rd and 8 but given the time on the clock and no time out, I thought it was the right call.
- Not sure I’ve ever seen Delvin Breaux be targeted so many times.
- Its strangely comforting to be accompanied by the Stampeders in the CFL basement. Gotta focus on the positives at times like this.