Riders 32 – Argos 7
Well we had to wait out a storm to get there but the Riders finally got their first win of 2019 on Canada Day. You know it’s a good night when the only negative thing people are talking about has nothing to do with actual football… more on that later. It was the first time this season where we played well in more than one phase of football and low and behold, it led to a victory… albeit against the woefully bad Argonaut (keep that fact in mind before planning the parade).
Offensively, Cody Fajardo was dialed in a chucking yet again. I really want to know who wore #7 in game 1 because he simply can’t be the same person as the #7 I’ve seen for the past 2 weeks. He’s calm, he’s decisive, he’s deadly accurate even when pushing the ball down field, he protected the ball. He did everything you could ask… except score 3 more points so we could all get deals on tires (thanks a lot you selfish bastard!). I really like how he was threading those quick slants into tight windows and hitting his WRs in stride. I thought our new look OL held up pretty good. The Argos may not be good but their front 4 are: Lemon, Laing, Bishop III are a damn good trio. It wasn’t always pretty and there were some close calls but they held up and did their job. That is a line with 3 starters 27 years old or less. It’s been a while since the line hasn’t relied on a lot of old guys. That Kyran Moore TD was my favourite play of the game. D finally forces a turnover and boom 1 play we go for the jugular and make them pay. As soon as Moore caught that ball I immediately started celebrating and didn’t even watch him finish his run. Upon watching the replay, Willie Jefferson is disappointed in the overall lack of showmanship and high stepping.
Defense had a bounce back game (though again keep in mind it was against the woeful Argos). We got turnovers! Both deep in our territory to keep points off the board. Moncrief is my favourite defender by far. So talented. More than in previous games I noticed us moving Edem around. There were times when Moncrief dropped to safety. I also saw Judge drop back. We’ve got versatile players nice to see us using that more. It was also the most I noticed the front 4. They got close a whole lot in that game and if nothing else had solid pressure. On the downside we missed a ton of tackles and had we been playing a better team that could have cost us. Still they allowed only 2 plays over 15 yards and the lone TD was scored on a play where the ball was deflected and landed in the hands of guy that was nowhere close to where it was intended to go.
When Christion Jones opened the game by ripping off a 43 yarder I knew we were in for a good night. Returns were better. Lauther was perfect. Ryan’s kick placement and hang time was better. It was the first game this season were special teams contributed in a positive way.
Overall it was a decisive and much needed win against a team that we were supposed to beat. The Argos aren’t good but I’m not going to apologize for beating them. The real test now becomes whether we can sustain this success with 3 straight West teams on tap.
Now onto Gainer-gate. Look, you want to make Gainer thinner to promote a healthy lifestyle? Great. Want to give him shoes? Don’t really get it but fine by me. But what in god’s name did you do his face?!? I haven’t decided on whether Facelift Gone Wrong Gainer or Gainer On Drugs is more fitting. I really don’t get why we felt it was necessary to alter the costume of one of the most beloved mascots in Canada. Did the other suit get wrecked and we tried to save money by getting a discount guy to make the replacement? When I saw him working out in the video I was really hoping that he’d come out as Gainer on steroids, just ripped. I feel that would have been better than having to look at those eyes.
Other random thoughts:
- I love the crowd after rain delays. Only the diehards stick it out so it’s also as loud as when everyone was there.
- The Riders are still taking too many penalties. They averaged 10 in the first 2 games and added 9 last night. Gotta clean that up. Especially the stupid ones that Davis and Evans took.
- You know you are a bad defense when the ever elusive Cory Watson is out there breaking out ankles.
- Want to get a drink while the game is on? Lined up. Want to get a drink during a rain delay? No line-up. It may take you 20 mins to navigate the concourse to get there but still… does that not seem backwards?
- I feel as though during rain delays, they should just put highlights from famous sports movies on the big screen: Waterboy, Varsity Blues, Any Given Sunday, Remember the Titans and so forth. That or just air the rowdy drunks encouraging the TSN panel to do hilarious things.