Riders 30 – Ti-Cats 13
For the first half of the game I think we were all having déjà vu. Defense was locking it down, offense was so useless you could scarcely understand how they managed to tie their own cleats. But on the second offensive play of the 3rd quarter, things changed. Fajardo connected with Shaq on a picture perfect pass for 41 yards. That seemed to awaken the offense and allay some of the mounting concerns that we were in for another season of the least amount of offense humanly possible.
I was pleasantly surprised by our OL. We played a damn good front 4 and I barely noticed or had to swear about our line. No sacks and for the most part Cody had time to do what he needed. By no means are they dominant but after last season, I think we will all gladly take “not awful”. Not a lot of running room but I’ll defer judgement there because, again, that Hamilton front 7 is talented. Even when we weren’t moving the ball at all, Cody at least wasn’t making bad decisions. No turnovers and honestly our issues were more with play calling (i.e. 4 yards passes on second and 10) than execution. You can tell Shaq is Cody’s guy. Everything works better when that connection is going. That game showed that even if we can start consistently hitting passes of just 20 yards then our O will work. I just genuinely enjoy watching Schafer-Baker play. With the attention Shaq and Duke will draw he’s going to have plenty of one on one opportunities and has the talent to make opponents pay (as he did on that TD). Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and appoint our offense fixed. They still slept through the first half. They still relied far too much on Lauther. Of the 2 TD’s we scored, one was gifted to them by Moncrief. There is still work to do. But they showed us enough against a good opponent to be hopeful.
Nice to start the season on a positive note. Nice to have something to cheer about in the stands again after a season of mostly just enduring really boring games. Next up is Edmonton and I don’t ever like underestimating an opponent but my god, did you see how awful they were? If that's the level of play he gets, he will break his record of dressing 100 different players here in 2016 because he will cut them all and demand a new team each week.