Friday, September 8, 2023

Riders vs. Bombers: Banjo Bowl 2023

Fresh off a massive upset win on Labour Day the Riders travel to Winnipeg and while trying to avoid getting stabbed or catching whatever barnyard animal-based disease is currently floating around their population, will try make it two in a row.

I don’t fall in the camp of people who refuse to call it by its real name. Rematch is boring. Banjo Bowl now that has appeal. 

I’ll cut to the chase here. I fully expect us to get our ass kicked in this one. There are many reasons for this. First, we just generally do not do well in this game. We have lost 6 of the last 7 Banjo Bowls. The only time we won, Matt Nichols was the QB in Winnipeg… remember how not good Matt Nichols was? We have lost the last 3 by an average margin of 28 points. We don’t just lose Banjo Bowl… the only things that blows more than us on Banjo Bowl is the two toothed Winnipeg hookers helping Bomber fans celebrate the victory.

But beyond just history I have more pertinent reasons I think we are going to lose. There is just too much working against us. Last week we proved we are good enough to beat any team in this league. But remember that we were at home, in the biggest home game of the year (Labour Day magic is a real thing and I will fight anyone who disagrees), we were coming off a bye and well rested and we were mostly healthy.

This week is the complete opposite we are on the road (where Jake has never started), in the biggest home game for Winnipeg of the year, we are not coming off a bye and the injuries are once again piling up at some key spots (lord help me I never thought I’d be reduced to considering Evan Johnson a key injury). That and one of our best pass rushers will miss the game.

We had a lot going for us last week and barely won. We have a lot going against us this week... so this one doesn’t exactly scream confidence to me.

But after the last 2 wins, even a pessimist like me would have to upgrade our chances from being on par with Andrew Harris finding who tainted his supplement to plausible. 

How do we turn plausible into reality?… I mean other than infect the Bombers with whatever stomach flu ripped through our locker room prior to Banjo Bowl last year. 

We need to keep our intensity up. We beat BC and Winnipeg primarily because we wanted it more and were the more physical team. Now we need to dial it back just a bit. BC was the right level of physicality. Labour Day we started overdoing it a bit and taking too many penalties. Can’t have that but we still need to hit like we mean it.

Defensively we need to limit the deep ball. I know it’s easier said than done against the most talented offense in the CFL but we gotta find a way. Collaros got half his yards on 4 long passes. Take those away and he had nothing. Yes he can pick a part a zone and string long drives together but our odds are better in that case than letting him put on an air show. That starts with big pressure up front and keeping Collaros in the pocket. He’s so deadly when he rolls out. 

Offensively priority one is protect the football. Turnovers will turn this one ugly in a hurry and we are already fighting an uphill battle. Keeping Morrow involved has to be the priority (and maybe even mixing in some Hickson). Hand offs and short dumps will simplify things for Dolegala and we saw how effective Morrow can be in the pass game. Would be nice to find ways to get Baker more involved. We don’t need to force it as Bane, Emilus and Jones can all make plays but your best players gotta make plays to get wins like this and he’s our best receiver. I’ll be very interested to see how Dolegala handles the hostile environment and noise of IG Field. He doesn’t appear to ever show much panic so hopefully that continues. I hope for his sake our makeshift OL is mildly competent. Kelly is a massive loss at tackle. Lofton, Council and Bandy are not exactly names that instill fear in opposing DLs.

The start will be key in this one. If we come out strong and keep it close early we have a chance. If we give up quick scores or turnovers it will spiral out of control quickly.

Honestly just hoping we look competitive and don’t just repeat the Montreal debacle.

Bombers by 18.


Anonymous said...

Our secondary and linebackers need to play much better. I think the offence will be OK to score 25 points or more. But Shivers needs to get that defence working together

Rider Prophet said...

In the first half of Labour Day it was the D holding us in it waiting for the O to wake up. So I don't share your confidence on the O.

Pressure it the key on D, if Collaros has time even the best secondary will not hold up.

Dan said...

Watch for it…..Riders surprise again! Riders win in comeback win. Team rising!

Dan said...

It appears I was wrong on this one. Hey, at least the Stamps also lost, so the day wasn't a complete bust.

Today was a reminder that the team ended last year as worst in the CFL and turnaround seasons are destined to have some shit games. Still happy to see that team at .500 at the two-thirds point. Overall ahead of expectations, but this game sure sucked.

Hoping to see a rebound like we saw after the pounding in Montreal. Keep up the good work Prophet, always entertaining.

Rider Prophet said...

You were this close Dan, Haha.

You are right though. For where we ended last season, .500 and third place is a good place to be overall.