Riders 10 – Bombers 35
The first 2 plays of the Banjo Bowl could not have gone any better for the Riders. Big kick combined with penalty to have the Bombers start on their own 10. Then on the first offensive play, we sacked Streveler for a 7 yard loss. It was about that time that everything went downhill and tennis suddenly became an appealing way to pass a Saturday afternoon.
For the first time since the Calgary game, the Riders came out completely flat. The Bombers did not come out flat at all and completely dominated the game in pretty much all phases. For the Riders, it was pretty much a full on display of how not to football right. We got outworked. We weren’t disciplined. We attempted a form of tackling normally reserved for double amputees. We couldn’t get out playmakers the ball. We couldn’t force a turnover or even stop a drive from lasting long enough to listen to American Pie and Stairway to Heaven in their entirety. It was all kinds of bad.
Offensively, we failed to establish the line of scrimmage. Fajardo had a bad day and McAdoo did nothing to help him. In a hostile road game, with a struggling pass game you would think that maybe leaning on Powell would be a good idea. We chose the opposite, giving him just 4 touches and not having involved in any way after the 7 minute mark of the second quarter. I get that the Bombers schemed to eliminate the run but at some point you need to try.
Defense had a bad game. Don’t even want to think about how much worse that game could have been if the Bombers had their actual starters playing. We couldn’t tackle, either because we completely whiffed or because we seemed to think that if we hit them with our shoulders the Bomber ball carrier would just give themselves up because they were so impressed at our macho-ness. Micah Johnson must grease his arms before playing because he should have like 6 sacks but managed to let them slip by almost every time. Add in the undisciplined penalties. Also add in the fact that despite getting their asses handed to them all the DBs felt the need to run their mouths non-stop. Had they put in in half as much effort into stopping the Bombers O as they did to yapping the score might not been so lop-sided.
Special teams was once again in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. Coverage was utter garbage on that TD. Jon Ryan regressed to his normal "kick it far with reckless regard for directing it anywhere but the middle of the field" ways. You want a sign it was a bad game? Charbel Dabire (our 300 pound DT) fielded a kick. Can’t imagine his instructions on kick return are anything but stand in the way while someone more mobile (i.e. literally anyone) comes to get the ball.
A split with the Bombers in this 2 game set is not the end of the world. It was a crap effort. Burn the tape and move on to the next game. It’s just a disappointing effort given how much of an opportunity we had to take advantage of a depleted team and move into first place.
One more closing thought. So, its called the Banjo Bowl because Troy Westwood called Rider fans banjo picking inbreds. So it amuses me to no end to see how many Winnipeg fans come to the came with banjo in hands. You know that makes you the banjo picking inbred right?