Riders 17 – Alouettes 10
I’ve seen a lot of weird wins over the years. I’ve seen ugly wins, wins we probably didn’t deserve, wins we did deserve but did our best to try and give away, wins that leave you not feeling all that great. Friday was a new one for me. I mean, we won… but it was hard to feel real great about. Player of the game goes to Zeus (the god of lightning, not the guy who wrestled Hulk Hogan in No Holds Barred, just so we're clear) as lightning ended the game with just over a quarter to play.
Look I get that there needs to be a rule about when to call games and that inevitably someone won't like that rule. I don’t know what the right time is but 60 mins seems way too short. Given that they have to wait 30 mins after lightning strike, essentially any storm over 30 mins ends it. But don’t just yell at “stupid Ambrosie” or the “bush league CFL”, this was a provision jointly negotiated with the players so they are equally to blame. Also, clearly if the roles had been switched and the Riders had lost there would have been wide-spread riots in the prairies. But don’t pretend for a second that all the non-Rider fans currently crying foul would not have been laughing their asses off and enjoying our pain had we lost. We are all hypocritical and self-interested, some of us are just honest about it.
But enough about the weather, complaining too much makes us seem like Grandpa Simpson
The game itself, was essentially 3 good, plays. The Riders made 2 while the Als only made one so we won. Well, I guess you could throw in the fact that our kicker can actually split the uprights on a somewhat regular basis as another key to victory (man Bede is erratic).
Let’s start on defense, as they literally won the game for us, scoring not one but 2 TDs on essentially the same play. The first one with Moncrief gave me flashbacks to Jackie Mitchell killing Dave Dickenson. I was already coming out of my chair when he came off the edge. I barely saw the TD because I was screaming so hard at the hit. Then Judge thought he should get in on the action and did it to Shiltz. The hit wasn’t as devastating but the end result was just as sweet… though Charleston Hughes’ slow mo runs to the endzone always cause a bit of anxiety as to whether he’ll get there before a defender gets him or his lungs give out. TDs aside, the D did their job. Allowed only 4 points, held Jeremiah Johnson to 3.8 yards per carry. Hell the only thing they didn’t seem to have an answer for was the offensive juggernaut known as Spencer Moore. Let me reiterate though that Antonio Pipkin is not good (like at all) … and Matt Shiltz is only slightly better. Still with a depleted front 4, the D did a good job of stepping up and helping out a struggling rest of the team.
Offense was a grind. Pre-game I listened to an interview with Fajardo where he said Montreal drops a lot to take away the deep stuff, forces you short and rallies well to the ball. Turns out the kid knows what he’s talking about. Lots of dink and dunk. But Cody showed good patience. Leaned heavy on his veteran in Roosevelt to find the space and most importantly, protected the ball. One thing I did not like was how little we ran. I get that Montreal was scheming to limit the run so adjusting to take the passes they give you makes sense but at some point you gotta feed your star back the ball. Anything less that 10 touches for Powell, especially in a game like this, is unacceptable. Still by virtue of not turning the ball over… and not letting our QB get repeatedly drilled on LB blitzes, the O did just enough to get by. By the way, I totally called the token catch for Manny.
Special teams is awful. Well I guess I should specify that our punting is awful. The rest seems to be fairly adequate. It starts with everyone’s damn hero, Jon Ryan. When the best thing I can say about the highest paid punter in the league is that “at least this game some of his punts went in the direction of the sidelines” that’s a problem. At least twice this game he send line drives to the middle of the field. One resulted in a 42 yard return. While you are all wetting your pants over his distance and his hang time, I’m focusing on the fact that only about half his punts go outside the hashmarks. Again, highest paid punter in the league should be at least somewhat consistent. In fairness to mister Ryan, our coverage has also been awful. I really don’t understand how Dickenson is letting this happen. This is his specialty. Hopefully the bye week can been used to sort that out.
Overall it was somewhat of a let down in terms of a win but it was a win. The only 2 plays the Als made where punt returns. Their offense was doing nothing. Hell their offense was actively trying to lose the game. Their D was limiting us but not getting any turnovers. We were the better team so there is no need to apologize for the win.
With 5 wins we are right in the mix with the top teams in the west and getting a much needed bye to rest up.