Riders 29 – Stamps 26 (OT)
How nice is it to watch another team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory… or I guess from the jaws of a tie in this case? Also, how nice is it that 2 of our first 3 games have come against QBs struggling as a new starter?
The Riders went into Calgary and somehow emerged with a victory. I say somehow because the following things had to happen in order for us to win:
- Sack fumble that results in a first down
- Ball bouncing of a defenders legs into the hands of Dean
- Milligan dropping the ball and it bouncing directly back into his hands without breaking stride
- Maier throwing a pick in a situation where they had a tie guaranteed.
For once its seemed we were on the right side of the bounces.
Let’s start with the offense. To put it nicely, they were not very good. They had their moments and they came through when it mattered but for most of that game they were useless… with the exception of Morrow. He carried the load for us when we needed it and had a hell of a game. It was nice to be able to see a consistent run game. Colin Kelly looked solid at RT. Our look at Hawkins was an abbreviated one unfortunately. I will say that by some miracle Logan Ferland was not awful at tackle. I assumed we were screwed when he had to slide out but he held his own pretty well. It’s a good thing Harris likes to spread the ball around because it’s a must on this team. We have no #1 receiver. Injuries play a role but Wieneke is proving to not be a #1. I’m not saying cut him or anything. I just think we are seeing that he’s a good #3 but he’s not a guy who is going to carry the load himself (except for converting strips sacks into first downs, he’s rocking that task). Shawn Bane is our best receiver at this point hands down. He is a difference maker out there and we are leaning on him more and more. Once again solid contributions from Jones and Emilus.
Defense won us the game but I believe we are fortunate to have played a struggling QB. Maier is certainly better than Conelius but he’s not very good. The Dean pick was kinda lucky but the pass was behind the WR. The Milligan pick Maier just threw it directly to him like he was the intended WR. And the Marshall one, he just plain did not account for the CB in coverage. Our only TDs of the game came off turnovers. This was the second game in a row where I was very underwhelmed by our front 4. I gave them the benefit of the doubt that fatigue was the issue last week but this week again we got next to no pressure. Something to watch moving forward. I would prefer if Lanier spent more time inside at DT. CJ Reavis has been playing well which is super important given how much our depth is being tested. We got to see good Marshall and bad Marshall in that game. He got burned on the Henry TD but then saved the day in OT. Credit to the D for making plays when it mattered but we won’t play a bad QB without his best 2 WRs every week.
The rest of the league should thank the Riders for educating them on obscure rules that only ever seem to impact them. Much like the infamous card rule fiasco, the Riders were once again the victim of a section of the rule book that hasn’t seen the light of day in generations. I guess I understand and it seems to be a technically correct call but like, why is it always us? I also think that the standard for conclusive evidence to overturn a call on the field was not stringently followed there.
I was pleasantly surprised that our patchwork special teams unit did not hurt us in coverage. What did hurt us was once again Brett Lauther. He missed a FG and an extra point. Either one of those would have been extremely important points that could have avoided OT. I love Lauther but he’s not been good this year. He missed a FG and 2 extra points in the preseason and has missed a FG in every game this season. I’m not saying cut him but I do think it’s time for some competition for him to at least make him earn his starter role. You should at least be more reliable than the CFL stats system to be a kicker.
Overall it was an ugly gritty win but it was a win and it feels great. What I loved is the defense going up to celebrate on the stage under the jumbotron and jeer the Stamp fans. That’s the kind of swagger that’s been missing around here. What is also good is we now have 2 road wins over western teams. Those are important wins.
We get to head into a much needed early season bye week on a high note.