Riders 17 – Bombers 21
If nothing else you can say the Riders were consistent. Much like the rest of the season, Sunday saw us field a championship calibre defense and a rec league calibre offense. They made a hell of a game up it but ultimately were not going to beat a team as good as the Bombers with that many mistakes. You need to win at least 3 phases. One phase came to play, one phase was meh and at best a saw off with the Bombers and one phase... well if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
Early on it seemed our best strategy was to let the Bomber get into the redzone and assume they would screw up. And the turnovers just kept coming. 6 of them against a team who turned the ball over less than anyone else this year. But with each successive turnover, one thing kept missing… points. Off those amazing 6 turnovers, we produced just 10 points. Put another way we average less than FG for each turnover. Can’t pass up that many opportunities against the top team in the West and expect to win. Defense did everything they could to keep us in.
Offense… well they were exactly what we’ve come to expect from the 2021 Riders… dysfunctional at all levels. O-line that can’t block… allowing 5 sacks. Play calling that boggles the mind. Some of our third and short plays included hand-off 5 yards deep when we needed 2 and bombing it deep (because you know the deep ball has really been our strength this year). Compound that with a QB who continues to make really bad reads. The one time we actually had the screen pass set up to work, he didn’t throw it. End of the half with zero seconds on the clock he throws a 12 yard pass (why?). And with all due respect to Mitch Picton (who I like), it is simply idiotic that with the game on the line he’s your primary/only read when he clearly was well covered. Literally any other receiver would have been a better look. Compound that with receivers making mistakes the few times Fajardo made a great play. Duke missed a guaranteed TD by mysteriously stopping running. Baker had a drop. The list goes on. You can’t point to any one person as the sole issue with our O. Everyone involved with that mess contributed and the result is a team that can’t score 20 points.
Not that I think it would have made a difference but good lord did Winnipeg get away with some blatant holds. I’m pretty sure even if they completely pulled off one of our defenders jerseys they still would have not thought it was holding. To be fair, I’m not convinced that Duke catch was actually a catch either. I will also once again call for college-style ejections for targeting. Somehow we still use video review to see if sneezing on a QB is roughing but can't use it to eject people for blatant head shots.
Moral victories my ass. I’m proud of the effort the players and coaches put it because I do believe they poured their heart into it. And realistically within 32 yards of the Grey Cup is not bad for a team that had 5 blown achilles and half their Ol line leave weeks before the season. But in the words of Ricky Bobby, if you’re not first, you’re last. And losing because you simply aren’t good enough in one phase of your team does not make me feel any better.
Much like 2008 we squandered a great defense. O’Day has a year to get that utter lack of anything resembling an offense figured out if he wants to have a shot at the Cup here in 2022.
I know everyone loves our defence but let's be real---our linebackers are not very good. We need some run stoppers. Lacey and Micah Johnson on the nose can't do everything
Fair point. Teitz being out certainly impacted things but yeah that is one area they could improve on
If being a Rider fan has taught me anything, it's that life is just one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead.
Defence had a few issues but even with the issues we saw with stopping the run in a couple games the defence was clearly good enough to help us win a championship. It was the other side of the ball that let us down. A very small number of additional successes on offence would have changed the result yesterday. Already looking forward to seeing what the 2022 edition looks like.
Thanks for plenty of entertaining analysis Prophet!
Lots of questions. Is Maas returning? Can't see him going but we likely get more of the same on Offence. Do we bring back LaBatte for the last year of his contract? How can you refuse with the Cup in Regina? But he's 35, 3 years out of football & much injured the most recent seasons. What about Micah, Powell, Henry & some of the gang on D? I suspect we are going to see some major changes unlike the tweeking of the lineup the past couple of years. 2022 is coming up quick. This one ended a week too soon.
Bryce - you summed it up perfectly haha
Dan - yup I'd stack that D up against anything (which is wild with all their injuries)
Anon - yeah change is coming. I don't see Maas going and I'm ok with it. Stability at qb and oc is good. Give them a real OL and watch the criticism go away. Powell like done (we have Morrow). When it comes to OL take whatever.you can get (labatte included) need lots of depth and sort the starters out in camp. Defensively guys like Marshall, Gainey come to mind too. Good news is we had a ton of new guys get meaningful playing time so lots of options there
Agree with you on the offence - it was all about the line. I am thinking we could not run any sort of slow developing plays or tricks when guys were getting beat so quickly. Can you imagine and attempted flea flicker? A d-lineman may have intercepted the pitch back to Cody. There were definite signs of the rush getting to Cody to the point where had the yips even with time. With a better line and receivers like KSB and Lenius improving I see our line better. Another big question looming. Was Shaq's issue this year just never getting healthy from the foot? Or is 2018 Shaq the real Shaq and 2019 was the anomaly?
Gov - yips for sure. You could tell he didn't trust the line to block long enough to get to his second read. Sad but true and it led to forcing plays he shouldn't have or not trusting there would be time when there by some miracle was. I'd like to think Shaq was slowed by injury because he was worse than 2018 Shaq. I'm excited for Baker in year 2. Go back and look at the jump between Fantuz year 1 and year 2. Not saying he's Fantuz but Canadian receivers tend take a year to fully hit their stride
Do they have Duke under contract?
Nope. Free agent along with pretty much everyone else but Cody and the rookies
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