Riders 41 – Argos 16
The Riders notched their 9th win of the season and clinched a spot in the playoffs with a convincing win over the worst team in the CFL (I mean realistically the RedBlacks are the worst but so far the Argos have the worst record). Things went pretty much as expected. It certainly didn’t seem that way through the first quarter and into the second as the Riders still seemed to mentally be on their bye week. The sad thing was that even with the Riders sleepwalking through the game, it was never really in doubt. Then Dickenson gave a rousing halftime speech which I assume amounted to “Hey, remember that these guys suck?” and the team responded yes and proceeded dominate the remainder of the game.
Defense played solid throughout. 4 turnovers, 6 sacks and just 3 points allowed through all but garbage time (though I guess you could argue that much of that game could be considered garbage time). The rest seemed to do Hughes some good as he notched another 2 sacks. It’s nice that even though he’s banged, up he’s not experiencing the second half drop in production he did last season. A big part of that is the presence of Micah Johnson. At times he just manhandled up to 3 would be blockers. Regardless of the score, Elimimian plays at one speed: “Looking to inflict pain”. Cam Judge just continues to make plays. Chapdelaine doesn’t believe in the run. On the opening drive Wilder ran 3 times for 19 yards resulting in a FG… he got 4 more carries the entire game. As Mr. Burns would say “It’s called playing the percentages. Its what smart managers do”. With their refusal to run, shutting down Derel Walker was the key and we held him to 46 yards… 42 of which came on one pass. Defense had a strong performance.
They sure took their sweet time getting going, but once they did offense was fun to watch. Fajardo must wish he could play the Argos every week because he puts up big numbers against them (I guess everyone does though as they are the worst defense in the CFL… damn that Chamberlain). 3 TDs through the air while competing 82% of his passes and another TD on the ground, while running for 80 yards. It was a performance that gave many a Fajardon. A lot of credit goes to Roosevelt who made some tough catches early when our O was struggling. Kyran Moore had a big game, living up to his nickname of Swerve. I love how late in the game we were just like “Screw it, Bryan Bennett do you want a TD too?”. I am willing to bet that you screamed just like I did when Manny finally scored. The reaction of the whole team tells you how much he means to the team. Also, as a child raised on wrestling in the 90s I’m a big fan of the Bushwhackers celebration.
It was such a good game that the special teams decided to play good as well. Good punt returns, good coverage and hell I even saw Jon Ryan make the nicest punt of his entire Rider career. It was so impressive that I won’t mention earlier in the game when Coach Dickenson was seen on the sidelines trying in vain to get him to punt in the vicinity of the numbers.
The one negative was that even in a blowout win over a really bad team, we still managed to take over 100 yards in penalties. We are entering a very important stretch of the season and if we can’t get this reigned in, it will burn us.
It was an easy win over an easy opponent but that’s what was supposed to happen. I’ve probably overused this line this year but you can only play the cards your dealt. Our playoff spot is secured but we have bigger goals in mind. With 5 games left we are tied for first place and targeting a first round bye or at least a home playoff game. Gotta win 3 of our final 5 minimum to have a shot at a home playoff game. If we want first then our next 2 games against the Bombers and Stamps are crucial.