Riders 21 – Argos 31
So Sunday morning after that debacle of a Touchdown Atlantic Game I left on my annual fishing trip for 5 days. Seemed like a well timed break from life. I returned to cell coverage Saturday to find that Duke had been suspended (not shocked), the game has been postponed because we were decimated by a Covid outbreak (damn dirty Maritimers) and a game day roster that would make a preseason game roster look good by comparison.
So, I went into this game with zero expectation. Our defense is down 3 of 4 starting D-linemen and a starting corner. Our offense featured a rookie QB, throwing to rookie receivers behind a a starting but sucky O-line. But like they so often do, the Riders suck you in and give you just enough hope to break your heart.
Defensive deserves huge props for that game. Tasked with carrying an offense that wasn’t producing anything and down 4 starters, they did their best to hold us in that game. 3 sacks and 5 massive turnovers including an early goal line stand that set the tone. The Argos had a solid game plan of run Harris at a depleted D-line all day and it worked but we still held on. Lokombo had a rough day and there were some other miscues in pass coverage. But the defense gave us a chance to win.
I feel its so wrong that the world was denied that Charleston Hughes TD (even if by letter of the rules the call may have been legit). After a couple really crappy weeks it was a moment of pure happiness. The team was pumped for Hughes, the stadium was electric. Sad to have that ripped away. And that’s about the time the game started slipping away from us.
Special Teams stepped up big other than one big return. Vedvik was punting really well. Coverage was pretty solid. Plus the Argos were such good sports that they tacked on a penalty to damn near every return as an added bonus. Mario Alford made the Argos pay for an extremely stupid FG attempt. I’ll cut him some slack on that last fumble. I guarantee Dickenson told him to do whatever he could to take it the house because it was our only chance of winning. Blocking is still not great but Alford’s speed is making us still dangerous.
I would love to come on here and rip our offense (and very much could). But let’s be honest here… our regular offense is not that great. Take away any semblance of a starting caliber receiver (Baker being the lone exception) and add a rookie QB and anyone who was expecting fireworks is probably currently on something that would make it illegal for them to operate equipment. Dolegala had his ups and down. I mean the ups were mostly up in the air passes and the downs mostly 3rd but he made a few good plays. Clearly Tevin Jones is his guy. Also very clearly that other than Jones and Emilus (i.e. guys he throws to on second team reps) he saw no one. It’s a complete failure that we failed to get Baker the ball. I saw him run the same wheel route on at least 3 plays and it was open but Dolegala didn’t look there. When your QB is not looking for your best/only receiver… its an issue. When your QB is consistently throwing to Jones despite 2 and 3 defenders being in coverage, it’s a problem. My point is not to write off Dolegala he got put in a ridiculously tough situation, showed poise and made some plays. But he clearly has a lot to work on before pushing for a starting job.
We should not have won that game pure and simple. It’s a testament to how crappy a team the Argos are that they managed to almost lose such a gimme game. Sadly, I don’t see this getting better soon with a good BC team coming to town on a short week for us.
Other random thoughts:
- I know this makes me petty and I don’t care but Andrew Harris refuses to do up his chinstrap and lost his helmet on play after play… at some point can something not be done about that?
- I didn’t like the decision of going for 2 on converts twice. I’m normally a pro two point attempt guy but when your offense is struggling and it’s a close game take all the gimme points you can.
- I noticed Justin Rice on special teams in a positive way a couple times.
- I don’t like harping on refs but it so long for them to sort out that Hughes non-TD that 5 more of our players got Covid and completed their quarantine period. Make a call, be definitive and keep the game moving. Also it was ludicrous that we had to challenge that no yards when the Argo was almost touching Alford. What were you watching when you missed that call?