Riders 41 – Alouettes 20
Full disclosure, I was not at the game. Family wedding in a different province. I actually watched the first quarter on my phone and then got so disgusted that I turned it off and focused on the wedding… more specifically ensuring my drink cup remained full. But as it turns out everything that followed me turning off the game was pretty good. So you’re welcome, because clearly me watching was the issue early.
My buddy who was there summed the game as follows for me: Lanier and Robertson are studs, Sankey is a freak, we can’t pass block worth shit but can somehow run block and happen to have 2 really good backs. Having seen things with my own eyes, that seems pretty spot on though I would add that Schaefer-Baker is star.
Offense was their usual slow starting, ugly selves… but hot damn did they explode after halftime. Turns out when you distill the playbook down to “find ways to get Morrow and Baker the ball” good things happen. That should be the basis of all offensive strategy going forward. Our good American receivers are getting hurt and we still couldn’t pass block an actual empty barrel in a football jersey. So just let Morrow and Hickson handle things and sprinkle in some Schaefer-Baker. Also, clearly Picton (aka the TD machine) can stay involved too. We are quickly losing healthy players and at the rate his body is taking damage Fajardo won’t make it to August but they stuck to our winning formula. Don’t screw up and let the defense win it for us. We didn’t turn the ball over and for once Jason Maas showed the ability to adapt.
Special teams remains just god awful (you know other than Lauther casually nailing 57 yarders) but fortunately the D carried us and the O decided to chip in eventually. Gotta fix that. Though, maybe, just maybe, Dickenson/O’Day are playing 3-D Chess. Hear me out. We spend 2 weeks playing just craptastic coverage and make Chandler Worthy look superhuman. Then we convince the Als to unload a no-longer needed Mario Alford for next to nothing and to bam suddenly play good on teams again. I mean that’s what happened right? Its not just that our cover team suck? Right? Right? A man can dream.
In all seriousness Alford is a damn nice acquisition. His biggest flaw is health. He has trouble staying on the field. But when he is on the field, he’s electric. Over the past 3 seasons he played 8 games for the Als… and returned 3 punts for TDs. He has scored a TD on 10% of his career punt returns. Small sample size but for a 6th round pick the upside is massive. We need a competent returner to spell Morrow (who clearly needs to carry the load offensively for us).
The injuries and the bumps and bruises are piling up. I don’t know how long this is sustainable but we have a good enough defense to give any team in this league a challenge. Much like last season, if the offense happens to chip in we suddenly become very dangerous.
We have 3 more home games this month (which is questionable scheduling when people are struggling to afford 1 game per month let alone 4 but I digress). If we can limp through this with a decent record we could be dangerous down the stretch as our long term injuries heal up.
For now, just happy to be celebrating a win.