Riders 3 – Ti-Cats 24
Well if you were surprised by that game I don’t know what to tell you. That was pretty much exactly what I was expecting. I actually thought it would be worse but Montreal’s epic choke job to the RedBlacks took the Hamilton care factor way down. Still it was mostly their starters against mostly not ours. Our starters struggle to find the endzone, what did you think our back-ups would do?
Harker looked very much like a back-up QB. Could he play if you needed him to? Yeah. Is he ready to be a starter? Only if Jamie Elizondo is coaching the team. In fairness to him the O-line was even worse than normal (didn’t think that was possible). On the first pay of the game Jefferson completely whiffed on his block and if Harker didn’t neatly sidestep the rush his night could have been over before it started. What was more concerning than our completely inability to pass block was the fact that the run blocking was not good either. If a lineman can’t run block or pass block, why are they employed? Jamal Morrow did the best with what he was given… which was zero room most of the time. About the only guy to really seize the opportunity offensively was Mitch Picton. Who was only 1 of 2 Riders to notch more receptions than the Hamilton Ti-Cats off Rider QBs. Fine didn't look awful (that' the closest thing I have to a compliment after that game).
Defensively there was at least something to talk about. D-line notched another 4 sacks. AC Leonard was likely only playing because he has an incentive in his contract for a bonus if he leads the league in sacks. He got the one he needed and then I guarantee told Woodard that if he dared to get a sack that he was walking home. I swear I have seen Keion Adams make exactly 2 plays this season and they have both been the exact same play. Dude has a knack for taken the runner down off the edge. I love Marino and the toughness he brings to DT but he’s gotta learn to walk the line a bit better and not take penalties. Speaking of penalties, after a really bad start Mak Henry had been doing really well in that department… until he needlessly dropped the QB after the whistle. One guy who played great was Bouka. I mean on his second INT he jumped way too early and basically made the catch on the ground but this team hates styles points so who cares. He will be a welcome depth addition to the secondary for the stretch.
That’s the extent I’m going to analyze this. No one new really jumped off the page (I guess Miligan did have a sack but he also had some bad beats too). The point of the game was to rest our starters and not add new injuries and we did. So mission accomplished. If you had asked me after Cofield and Labatte opted out and half the defense snapped their achilles, if I would be happy with 9-4 and second place, I would have said hell yeah. We won ugly a lot but we won a lot. And if nothing else those ugly wins tell me that we are ready for playoff football because we know how to grind out close games.
Been a while since we’ve faced Calgary in the playoff and damn if it won’t feel good to have the chance to shut them up one more time.
Side note: that should 100% have been a Marshall on that TD. They called it a screen pass which is why we couldn’t challenge but the pass was clearly beyond the line of scrimmage.