Monday, August 21, 2023

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Punching Back

Riders 34 – Lion 29

That was quite the rollercoaster Sunday night. I walked in fully expecting a loss and in true Rider fashion I damn near almost managed to leave disappointed. They were the better team for 3 quarters and then tried really hard to lose the game in the 4th. But dammit if they didn’t manage to hold on and escape with a massive upset victory over the visiting Lions!

I saw what I needed to see most of all in that game. We punched back. After getting as embarrassed as you can get with your pants on in Montreal, it was a big test to see how the team would respond and how prepared Dickenson would have them. They stepped up and showed some pride. Defense was fired up. Special team was maybe even more fired up and played one of their best games of the season. It would have been easy to mail it in and deliver a widely expected loss and be in a rush to get to the bye week. But despite being massive underdogs, the Riders played one of their best games of the year, not backing down from one of the top tier teams in the league.

I will eat a bit of crow. Ever since Fine went down I have been very negative towards Dolegala. Legit expected him to be as brutal as he looked in Montreal. I was wrong. He’s not exactly ready to vie for MOP anytime soon but he played a pretty good game… and with this defense, pretty good is all we need to have a chance. He had his share of errors. I was convinced that Emilus TD was guaranteed INT until Emilus swooped in at the last second. He was almost useless in the second half. He made some questionable throws. HE took a time count penalty at the worst possible time. But he didn’t turn the ball over. He made some damn nice throws and he found ways to produce TDs. Sure a couple of them were gifts from the defense in terms of field position but we have spent all season finding ways not to get TDs. He produced 4 TDs against the best defense in the CFL. Props where props are due. I thought the O-line joined in with the theme of playing angry. They were far from perfect but generally gave Dolegala the time he needed and we even had some semblance of a run game against a very good run D. O was a true team effort with pretty much everyone making a play at some point. How nice was it to see the game open with a Baker TD? BC allows an average of 16 points per game. We more than doubled that. Again, it’s a good thing I’m not a big bettor because I would have lost a lot of money on this game.

We could focus on how they tried really hard to lose the game in the end but I will choose to focus on one hell of a game by the D. BC is a good team and they did more than just hang with them, they dominated. 5 sacks, 2 turnovers, no run game to speak of. We needed a bounce back game from this unit and they delivered. Yeah BC mounted a comeback and threw for over 450 yards but they are a damn good team full of playmakers. Better teams than us have struggled to contain them. I could have done without the late game drama but credit where credit it due they made plays. They set the tone early by forcing a turnover on the first drive. BC never fully recovered from that and had to chase all game.

Special teams stepped up too. Our return game is still AWOL but the coverage team was on lockdown. They forced a turnover and how about that hit from Brunson?!? They were fired up and for once decided not to be a liability.

That was an impressive and much needed win. I‘m not going to play revisionist history, I did not think we had a chance in this one. Riders proved me wrong. They now head into the bye week on a high note. Labour Day is on the horizon and heading into that with positive momentum is a welcome turn of events.

Other random thoughts:

-        Same Emilus is a damn good receiver. Credit to O’Day. I questioned prioritizing drafting a WR and Emilus is showing exactly the skills that led O’Day to make that move.

-        How great was it to have the script flipped and have us succeeding on short yardage and the other team struggling?

-        There should be a penalty equivalent to diving for a challenge to is clearly a fishing expedition.


Anonymous said...

Our secondary still needs a lot of work. Emilus is our best Cdn hands down. Dolegala very well could be a star in the making.

Anonymous said...

Losing a timeout is a waste and essentially useless. Simple fix for the challenge/fishing expedition like the one that we saw from Campbell on Sunday. If you lose the challenge & it's a 10 yard delay of game penalty. Because that's what your doing. Wasting time & delaying the game.

Rider Prophet said...

Secondary I'll give some credit as I think injuries to Henderson and Reavis played a factor. Also Adams was dialed in. Coverage was there on a lot of passes... others there were just plain old busts.

I'm not opposed to the penalty idea. The less challenges the better.