Riders 28 – RedBlacks 26
Don’t the final score fool you. We suck. A couple garbage time TDs can’t mask the fact that we didn’t bother showing up for yet another road game. Well I guess its more accurate to say that we showed up for the first 29 minutes and 18 seconds and then at the first sign of adversity folded like a lawn chair and were content to get beat on for all but the final 1:50 of the game when we made a valiant effort at a hopeless comeback. The only positive thing I can say is that at least they lost as a team. Everyone from players to coaches share in the blame.
With 42 seconds remaining in the first half we were leading 13-8 and had the ball. Offense had put some drives together. D had done alright. I would not have thought it possible but we managed to give up 11 points before half. The next 29 minutes of football were about as pleasant to watch as old people porn (unless that happens to be your thing). We managed to dig a hole so deep even Ottawa couldn’t choke it away… and bless their souls they tried really hard to. They just weren’t up to the task of out-sucking the Riders.
I predicted Jake’s love of outside passes costing us, and it did. He stared down that first INT something fierce. For all of Jake’s strengths hanging onto football when he’s hit is not one of them. If he’s hitting the turf its damn near automatic the ball does too. Receivers couldn’t hang onto the ball. O-line struggled. Brandon Council is lucky he occupies the coveted “only remaining healthy American tackle” spot because he like the second coming of Na’ty Rogers. One of the few bright spots on O was the angry running of Frankie Hickson. But after he produced 67 first half yards on 6 touches, Kelly Jeffries went full Maas and forgot the run game existed until it was too late in the game to matter. Genius. I know our defense isn’t great but in fairness to them our offense seemed intent on giving the ball back to Ottawa at every opportunity. 25 of the points we allowed came off turnovers. That’s more points that the offense produced for Ottawa than for themselves.
Defense looks old, tired and disinterested. One of the few exceptions is Micah Johnson who is about the only guy who seems to show no quit… despite being one of oldest guys out there. Larry Dean looks slow. Micah Teitz has visibly regressed. The secondary looks exactly like you’d expect it to with 3 starters out. Marshall has disappeared. Jeremy Clark gives the spottiest effort I’ve ever seen. One play he’ll look like an all-star and then check out completely on the next play. We seemed intent on dropping Pete Robertson back into coverage and that is definitely not his strength. At least Christian Albright made the most of his opportunity. Wish some of the vets would follow his lead.
I wish I could say I was surprised. I am decidedly not. You’ll recall that on Friday I said of the Riders “Much like a present from an elderly relative, you’re not sure what you are going to get, but you’re pretty sure you won’t like it.” We don’t show up on the road. That’s a pretty consistent trend. Hell, we don’t really show up anywhere of late. We just got beat by 2 teams that will likely not make the playoffs. And not just beat, were not good enough to compete with them.
It’s becoming abundantly clear (hopefully not just to fans but to Jeremy O’Day as well) that Dickenson is not a good head coach. He looked good in 2019 when he inherited a rock solid team. But he can’t coach through any kind of adversity. We have regressed in every year under his leadership. From 13 wins in 2019 to praying for miracle so we can scavenge a 7th win this season. Our road record has gotten worse every year. Bad games will happen from time to time but week after week we are clearly not ready to play when we hit the road. That’s a coaching issue. Week after week we check out in the second half of games. That’s a coaching issue. We obviously can’t fire him now, but there is no rationale for the axe not to drop the second this miserable season mercifully ends.
Dickenson insisted in an interview this week that this year is nothing like last year. For the first half of the season, I would have agreed with him. I actually started enjoying watching our games again (even when we lost). But everything since Labour Day sure feels like 2022. We are so bad that you almost dread watching our games. Our attendance is already dwindling. I’m one the most die hard fans out there and even I’m questioning why I would go to our final 2 games.