Riders 12 – Elks 11
That game was a lot like getting a hand job from a hobo in exchange for a cigarette. Its sad, embarrassing, not something you feel great about and not something you’d ever brag about, but in the end it has a happy ending.
Look, we are a franchise desperate for wins. Hell we hadn’t won at home in a year. So we will gladly take a win however we can get it. Even if was a god awful win against a god awful team. Trust me, last year we would have given our souls for a win this ugly. As long as the Riders keep finding ways to win that’s the important thing. But let’s call it like it is. That was one of the worst football games I’ve watched. Just 58 minutes of shame and embarrassment and the wildest 2 mins you’ll ever see. Its kinda like the reverse of my love life.
Offensively I can’t say I’m super surprised. We are down to 7th and 8th string receivers and didn’t really have a bona fide #1 guy even before half our guys landed on the 6 game IR. It showed. A lot of the struggles on offense we simply receivers not getting open. Harris was going through his reads but finding nothing. When he did find something he made the mistake of going to the well one too many times. His INT was the result of trying to run the same play 3 times in a row. This marks 3 of 4 games this season where Harris has thrown an INT. Sometimes I watch his throws and wonder how he hasn’t won multiple Cups yet, then I see him make mistakes like that and understand what’s holding him back. Though for al his shortcomings, when the game was on the line he delivered the TD drive we needed and just as import the 2 point convert. Good QBs, rise to the occasion when it matters most.
Not going to even lie and say I hate saying I told you, because I relish it. Picton man! I called it. He was the only guy I saw stepping up in that game. There was a couple more times he was open but didn’t get a look. He won’t wow you with his speed or physicality but dammit if he doesn’t know how to find the space and be where he needs to be.
I thought it was a huge mistake to go for it on third down in the first quarter rather than take the FG. I get the concept of being aggressive but you gotta call based on your situation. Our offense was not exactly humming along and we were playing a really bad team that was only able to score single points. Take the points in that situation, don’t get cute. Those 3 points certainly could have come in handy later in the game.
It seems weird to rip on a defense that allowed just 11 points. In any other week that would be a damn impressive game worthy of mad props. But despite only allowing 11 points and technically doing their job, it just seemed they struggled against a very week opponent. Don’t get me wrong, there were some good things. A few times we got massive pressure (almost too much) but Cornelius was able to side step it and gain yards. But Edmonton had 3 plays that entire game that we seemed not to be able to predict or stop. 1 – the Cornelius run. That should have been the most obvious thing to game plan for. Play contain, have the LBs fill the gaps and dare him to throw (because spoiler alert, he’s not very good at throwing). But we almost got too cute. Early in the game we ran a stunt with the DE and DT, but while they were stunting Cornelius easily escaped the pocket. Had we played just a conventional pass rush he would have been contained. 2 – was the short middle pass against our insanely soft zone. 3 – was swinging it short and wide. We just could not get off the field defensively. Yes they allowed nothing in terms of points but the time of possession was wildly slanted to Edmonton. If we can’t get off the field against arguably the worst offense out there, what’s going to happen when we play a mildly competent team? I’m not exactly enamored by the play of Bryan Cox at this point. If I was O’Day I would be calling Shawn Lemon and moving Lanier back inside. (Side note, Lanier is clearly not 100% and that’s definitely a factor in our pass rush).
now we do need to address the infamous Rouge. First off, full credit to Lauther.
Yes it was wind and stupidity aided but he kicked the piss out of that. As
for the error on the part of Sims. Jones admitted it and I fully agree, that is
a coaching error. Yes the player should know but in a kick that critical, the
coach should have reminded him that it needs to come out of the endzone.
Hell, Sims almost let us recover it for a game winning TD he was so casual
about it. We of course then proceeded to almost give then the game back by letting
them drive on us. Was Cornelius over the line? In reality, yes. But on video review
a millimeter of him was close enough to the line that the call was probably
technically correct. I will add that the video review official was Bradbury.
One last thought, full credit to Nick Marshall for being a game changer for the second week in a row… but how does he keep getting these opportunities? I’m not as skilled at breaking down film as an Offensive Coordinator but I can tell you that with the game on the line Marshall is playing for the pick every time so either pump him and use that your advantage or don’t throw his way.
I happy I had to sit through a game that awful? No. Am I proud of how it unfolded?
Also no. But is a win, a win? Yup! Schedule gets a hell of a lot tougher from here
but I’m pretty happy to be sitting 3-1 when you consider our injury situation
and how bad we were as a team at the end of last season.
Other random thoughts?
It was a nice touch on retro night to have Evan Bray and Jeff Sawatsky as part of
the pregame festivities. But opportunity missed to not go even further and have
retro (non- creepy drug eyed) Gainer and retro faceless Work Safe Bob.