Monday, September 4, 2023

Monday Afternoon Sentimonies: Labour Day Elation

Riders 32 – Bombers 30 (OT)

I woke up this morning and for the first time since 2019, the world was right again. My vocal chords were shot, my head was pounding, empty rye bottles littered my kitchen and I still had a big smile on my face because the Riders delivered a win. As a team and fan base, we needed that. Labour Day is our day and the team went out there and took it back for us. Unsurprisingly they also took a few years off my life in the process.

First thing I need to comment on was the fans. We brought the noise. Mosaic was hopping, louder than its been in years. One thing I loved was the noise started while the Bombers were in the huddle. We’ve got a bad habit of not cranking up the volume until teams break the huddle. Well not yesterday it was loud the whole time the defense was on. We even managed to get through a game without the wave.

Overshadowed in all the Robertson talk (which I will get to), the key takeaway is this… in back to back games the Riders went toe-to-toe with the top teams in the west division and prevailed. We have now beaten every team in our division. We have a winning record in the division. We have a winning record at home. We ain’t big on style points but this team has proven they can hang with any team. A month ago we were looking at the very real chance of another losing season without the playoffs. Rather than just accept our fate (like we seemed to last year) we have battled our way back into the conversation.

As always first credit goes to the D. They have faced 2 of the best QBs in the CFL the last 2 games and played at an elite level. Winnipeg is the best offense in the CFL, hands down. We held them to 7 first half points. For a long portion of the game, Collaros (unquestionably the best QB in the CFL) had as many completions to Nick Marshall as Bombers. We played angry which was needed. Now I think we need to dial it back just a bit as we started taking too many penalties but I’d rather have to dial it back a bit then they and fire them up. Micah Johnson is still a bad man. Nick Marshall had one hell of a game. All around great effort from Jason Shivers crew who just seems to keep rolling regardless of injuries.

Offense was a bit of a struggle. As expected Dolegala regressed a bit in his second start. He struggled at times and took a while to get going but he did alright. Most importantly he did not turn the ball over. Even when he overthrew people they were “safe” passes. He avoided making mistakes and that kept us in the game. When he is dialed in though, dammit if he doesn’t throw a nice ball. Stat sheet won’t reflect it but the few catches Bane made were massive. Emilus had another strong performance. Morrow quietly had a big game for us notching over 100 total yards. I thought Kelly Jeffries called a solid game… with 2 exceptions. When we put Pipkin and short yardage in with 3 yards to go to the goal line I was vocal in my displeasure to say the least, we did eventually score but I did not like that call. Also that second down play where Pipkin got stuffed because he ran completely sideways was not great. But overall the offense played pretty well for playing a defense as good as the Bombers. That 100 yard drive was massive.

A big difference in the game was special teams. We were by far the better team in that phase. That onside kick by Lauther to start the game was a genius call. How much must it have burned a special teams coach like O’Shea to have that work on him? Lauther was a flat out stud in that game. Our return game came alive and gave us great field position and our coverage team was lights out, giving the Bombers nothing.

Overall it was gutsy effort against the best team in the league. The team stepped up a delivered a much needed win on Labour Day.

Now let’s get to the headbutt. It was a stupid play by Robertson. It deserved to be flagged. He should have been ejected and a suspension is not unexpected. But let’s be honest for a minute. I give Collaros a 9.3 on the dive. You would have thought Robertson shot him for how he dropped. Also, in isolation, a play like that should be suspendable but… its wildly out of line with past precedent for a first time offender. Let me point out that Micah Awe got fined for high hits on QBs in back to back weeks. This league doesn’t suspend anyone no matter how egregious the offense. So based on previous CFL discipline history this very much smells like a suspension based on appeasing people not based on the offense itself.

All I’m asking for is consistency. If Awe gets to high hit QBs in back to back games without suspension then why is this a suspension for Robertson? Pick a side. While we are on that topic the PI call on Moncrief was the exact same play as the non-call on Shaefer-Baker. Again, just want consistency either both a penalties or neither are (in this case neither should have been).

Other random thoughts:

-        Colin Kelly is a big loss to our O-line. He has locked down that tackle spot since arriving and been arguably our best OL.

-        Credit where credit is due though, Logan Ferland once again played solid when being asked to bump out to tackle. I think playing on our crappy OLs has overshadowed just how good a player he is.

-        Concessions were gong show on the second deck. They ran out of most beer before kickoff. Before. I mean who could have known that there would be a lot of people wanting beer on Labour Day? Also I continue to miss the old token system because it was super efficient to get a drink. Its now 5 minutes per person to get a drink. How can you not figure out that the faster the line moves, the more money you make?

-        I love Labour Day!!!



Bryce Taylor said...

Consistency, sadly, will never happen.
That being said, I'm glad the league suspended him for one game, since if they didn't I can't imagine Dickenson would have the guts to bench him for the Banjo Bowl. We can only hope this is a sign that they will hand out similar punishments when warranted going forward.

Rider Prophet said...

Exactly. I'm fine with the suspension... as long as it sets a new precedent that is applied going forward.