Riders 6 – Bombers 51
If I was to put as much effort into this post as the Riders put in on Saturday, I would have stopped typing 12 words ago. Look, losing was expected. I’d admire anyone not so jaded by life that you actually there was a chance we were going to win, but the reality was that even Hellen Keller would have seen this loss coming a mile away.
But the fact that we lost isn’t the concerning part. It’s the fact that we didn’t even look like we were trying. We put in one half descent opening drive and obviously failed to game plan for anything after that. Last year we were literally crapping our pants and starting guys we showed up to the game after the anthem, after driving for 6 hours and eating McDonalds… and somehow we managed to do worse this time.
I’m not going to get into analyzing the game. Every single player sucked. There was no bright spots and this is a game where you just burn the tape and move onto the next game. Actually, I will comment on one player. God dammit is Charbel Dabire an underrated athlete. Damn near thought he might break his kick return and more than once he chased down a ball carrier well passed the line of scrimmage (which was where they were routinely found). Dude's got wheels.
Here’s the concerning thing for me. This game was not a one off. In the last 4 road games, the Riders have never scored more than 13 points (averaging 10 per game) and given up and average of 36 points. We don’t just struggle on the road; we play at a level that could best be compared to the South African hockey team (they got beat 28-0 by the hockey powerhouse of Australia in the Div 3 World Juniors for context). Bad games will happen here and there, but a consistent trend like this tells me the coaches are not getting the team ready. Its not just a this year thing either. Last year we went 3-6 on the road with an average score of 19-29. 2021 we had a winning record (4-3) but the average score was 17-22. Put that all together and in Dickenson’s entire tenure we have never averaged more than 20 points on the road. That now spans 3 different OCs so it’s not like you can pin it on them.
Dickenson gives me strong Danny Barrett vibes. Much like the Barrett years on any given day we can beat any team in the league… but consistently under perform. Nice guy, absolutely. Great coach… not so much. Can he coach you to .500 and an early playoff exit? Most likely.
The key now will be rebounding. After getting embarrassed in Montreal, the team punched back in the next game. We need to see that this time as well.
If we are being honestly a .500 record at this point considering how bad we sucked last season and injuries we’ve been through this year (particularly at QB) is pretty decent. Six games left and we need to go 3-3 to hold onto a playoff spot (a home playoff game is pipe dream at this point). In theory it should be doable… but if we put in the effort we saw on Saturday this team will be lucky to not manage to somehow go 0-7 over the final 6.
- I will not pretend to know more about defense than Shivers (more often than not he does wonderful things with the defense despite constantly changing players). But it seemed many times our D line overloaded pressure on one side of the Winnipeg O-line. I thought it was questionable play calling because it allowed Collaros to easily escape the pocket on the other side. Other times we would stunt in the edge rusher inside which left a gapping whole in our contain. Maybe it was poor execution and not play calling but it was a noticeably ineffective strategy.