Riders 19 – Stamps 22
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Defense sleeps through the opening of the game, has trouble tackling but otherwise plays good enough to win. The offense is so useless that you can’t fathom how most of them tie their shoes and it leads to a close game where we ultimately fall short. If it sounds familiar its because the exact thing just happened two weeks in a row. Two weeks ago it looked like we had a chance to bury the Stamps in the standings. Now we let them right back into the mix for second in the West.
Look, in the wake of that dreadful performance lots of criticism is being thrown and Fajardo and Maas. Most of it is warranted. But even the best OC’s and QB’s would struggle to field a competent offense with an O-line this bad. They offered Fajardo all the protection of a condom with holes in it. It wasn’t a matter of whether we let a defender through for most of the night, it was a matter of how many we let through. There were times that Fajardo didn’t have enough time for a 3 step drop and quick pass. Until the line gets better, there will be limits on what Maas and Fajardo can do.
Now I’m not absolving Maas of fault here. He does some really dumb things for a guy with a bad O-line. We routinely ran empty backfield sets. So we gave no illusion of running and had no extra blockers to help. When you know your line is garbage, why would you do that? We also have all this ridiculous pre-snap motion where Powell motions out to WR and Lenius motions to RB. Nobody is fooled by the this so the end result is we put the better blocker out to catch passes and the better pass catcher into block. Why? And somehow with an offense that can’t complete a deep pass we thought the answer to that problem was to target Powell deep? In what world does that seem like a good idea when we have all these big tall receivers on the roster?!? Why do we not run more slants? We have the big bodied guys to do it. It fits within our offensive capabilities and philosophy but we don’t use it. We had receivers dropping passes yet again. I hate to rag on Fajardo with all this crap working against him but he’s still not doing himself any favours. There was a play where Fajardo forced it to Schaefer-Baker on the sidelines. Had he looked just slightly to his right, we would have seen Lenius open on the seam for a massive gain. Bottom line is our offense is not even close to good enough to win us games. Unless Evans and Williams recently learned to play offensive tackle, they will not be the miracle cure for what ails us.
Defense is really difficult to peg down. They start slow. They struggle to cover and tackle. But game after game they get the job done despite not looking great in the process. They allowed a solitary TD. They got 3 sacks. They even avoided penalties for the most part (except for that time where Bo talked the refs into a ridiculous flag that came out 15 minutes after the play was over). They forced 3 turnovers and you know what our offense managed to do with that? 6 points! I cursed a lot at our D on Saturday but they consistently do enough to give us a good chance to win. Which more than I can say for other phases of our team.
This bye week might be well timed because we are in a mini-tailspin and some time to clear our heads might be helpful. I honestly assumed that we’d easily take 2 of 3 from Calgary and suddenly we are staring down a very good chance of being swept and starting to keenly watch the math on a crossover.
Other random thoughts:
· Was Campbell legit hurt? Or just really committed to the protecting his pride by claiming injury was the problem?
· Brett Lauther channeled his inner Jaime Boreham and unloaded on that special teams tackle. He is giving his all these last few weeks.
· Jon Ryan had a crap day punting.
· While we are speaking of people I used to notably hate on, Dan Clark also had a crap day.