Riders 14 – Ti-Cats 18
On September 19th, following an embarrassing loss to the Elks I declared the season over and that “the remaining 2 months will be nothing more than going through the motions”. I stand by those words and they may end up being the most accurate thing I write all season. And don’t even try and explain the math on how they are not technically eliminated yet. It's over. We need more wins in 2 games against Calgary than Hamilton gets in 3 games two of which are against Ottawa. We certainly aren’t winning again… do we really think Hamilton fails to be Ottawa even once?
Watching Friday’s game you would not have known that the Riders were fighting for their playoff lives. It was the same old Riders, with the same old problems that have plagued them all season. It was also a game painful to watch because the quality of football was exactly what you would expect between 2 teams trying really hard not to make the playoffs but benefiting from a system where at least one will.
I will say this… the defense at least showed signs of life. After a few really rough outings I thought they stepped up. They forced turnovers, they got a sack, they didn’t take penalties, they held their opponents under 20 points. That should be enough for a win on a marginally competent football team. They couldn’t tackle or stop the run at all. In fact, I’m not sure why Hamilton even bothered throwing. Dane Evans was completing less then 50% of his passes and had 2 INTs (one where he basically just gave the ball to Robertson). Wes Hills was averaging over 5 yards a carry. Hamilton should not have been passing. Admittedly our defense's best game in awhile came against a really bad QB and offense in general but at least they showed up and tried.
Offense was their usual utter embarrassment. O’Day and Dickenson have ben quick to point out how injuries have impacted the play of our OL and the continuity. Well Friday we had all out “best” OL: Clark, Johnson, Ferland, Vaughn. No injury excuse and what happened? They allowed a sack on average every 6 plays. We might as well have just placed 5 helmets on the ground and not had actual linemen. The helmets might have at least slowed down 1 or 2 defenders. Reminder that we actually pay someone to coach this OL and we obviously think he has been doing a good enough job to remain employed. It’s might be the second cushiest job in Canada next to senator. Compound awful OL play with Cody’s happy feet and general not being good this year. Compound that with the usually dose of questionable play calling. Compound that with receivers being mentally checked out and dropping the easiest of completions (looking at you Shaq). This offense has no fire power, no consistency, not an ounce of confidence they can actually produce. Here’s some quality logic from the Riders offense: despite being responsible for a third of our yards and half our points, we targeted Baker on less than 20% of our attempts. Why feed the ball to the one guy on the field who seems to make good things happen?
Yet again we did absolutely nothing in the second half. It was the 8th time this season we failed to score even a FG in the 4th quarter and the 6th time we failed to score a TD in the second half. Its pretty obvious that Jason Maas does not bother with halftime adjustments. Fun fact for you: if the games were only 30 minutes long, the Riders’ record would be 8-6-2. But when we are forced to play that pesky second half and our offense doesn’t feel the need to contribute it makes winning pretty hard.
This team sucks. There is no way to sugar coat it. We have talented players but as a team we are brutal. Any joy or fun that came with watching this team has been sucked out of it. The only thing we currently have to look forward to is getting really drunk in November and watching actual football be played by actual teams (well one actual team and the East representative). Mercifully we only have 2 more games to endure. Then we can get on to finding out just how committed the team is to learning from the mistakes made this season and implementing the changes needed to improve.
Other random thoughts:
- That holding/grounding play in our endzone was such a trainwreck that it perfectly encompasses our offense this season. It also should have definitely been a safety.
- The sheer chaos on that punt that hit Vedvik was something to behold. For Simpsons fans that is aptly labelled Pulling a Homer (to succeed despite idiocy). First of all Vedvik should have never punted high and straight into a wind. Second, how have you been in the CFL this long and not know that the punter can recover a ball? Someone get Jamie Boreham to give him some life lessons.
- Also, when its an overly complex and obscure call, why is always Proulx? He’s a very good ref but his insistence on the most detailed explanation possible just further people’s incorrect views on his competence.
- Blace Brown is a frustrating player to watch. He makes some amazing plays (perfectly blocked kick, couple great coverages) and then blows some very simple coverages.
- I like incorporating the FBs into our offense. We dress 3 and they clearly aren’t helping our blocking so might as well make sue of them somehow.