Riders 19 – Stampeders 26
Calgary tried really hard in this one, but in the end they were just no match for the sucking powers of the Riders. I mean the Stamps did pretty much everything they could to not win that game. I’m not sure I’ve seen a more inept receiving effort. They spotted us a 13 point lead. They took a ton of penalties (in one drive they took 40 yards of penalties and we didn’t score). At family Christmas Craig will have bragging rights that definitively he sucked more this season.
It's sad because the defense actually showed up for once. They actually looked like they wanted to be there and play at a professional level (well I mean a key part of our defensive success was Calgary’s moral opposition to catching but we still shut them down). The defense was responsible for only 10 points allowed. The other 16 were not their fault. D-line looked fired up. Nick Marshall looked engaged. They were hitting hard. It wasn’t always pretty but for the first time in a long time the defense stepped up looked good. They did enough to win that game.
Unfortunately for the defense, they not only had to overcome Calgary’s inept offense but their own inept offense. I have said many times that longterm Dolegala probably warrants keeping for further development. But right now, he is utter garbage. Road Jake is a thing and it’s a more awful form of garbage. He makes me miss Nealon Green. And I loathed Nealon Green (minus his stellar music career). His first 2 throws went straight into the tuft… when your launch point is 8 feet in the air I don’t know how you manage to throw so short. He is still fixated on short passes to outside, something that Cam Judge clearly also determined and exploited for an easy pick six. He does not seethe middle of the field. He was throwing to no one at times. He failed to throw the ball on the last play of the game. I guess he assumed getting hit for no gain was a good idea in that situation. He has not won on the road. He now has 2 passing TDs to 6 INTs on the road. Mason Fine ain’t saving our season but at this point how do you not give him some playing time? Hell I think Pipkin is a liability throwing the ball and at this point I say give him a shot. Jake don’t got it right now.
To be fair to Jake, not only does he not have it, he also doesn’t have a competent coaching staff backing him either. I don’t understand our play calling. You know its almost like our plays are being called by an unqualified shlub who only got the job by default because anyone good was qualified was smart enough to avoid stepping into this mess. Giving up a safety was a gutless call. Your defense was playing lights out at that point. Punt the ball and assume your D holds them to a FG or better. There were many times where the defense was clearly stacking the box and rather than reading that and looking for a hot route, we stubbornly opted to continue to run the run up the middle into a wall of defenders. If someone who has never played professional ball can see it while 3 ryes deep on his couch, how can the people who devote their entire careers to it not?
Alford had a rough game though in fairness to him, we block for him like he owes every other special teams player money and they are trying to teach him a lesson. Also, on the last Calgary punt I thought our coaches made a mistake (you’re shocked, I’m sure). We lined up in punt block. Nothing inherently wrong with that in that situation but ask yourself… what is more likely to lead to a TD? Attempting a block? Or setting up a return for one of the best returners in the game? We opted to fail on the block attempt and leave Alford with zero blockers. Good call.
As many have mentioned (including some of you regular readers), Dickenson challenging pass interference on a play where his QB failed to actually pass is the epitome of his abilities as a head coach. He assured us this is a better team than last year. Well the 2023 Riders have scored less points, given up more yards and points, turned the ball over more, taken the ball away less and are on pace to not win in the second half of the season yet again. The fact that he thinks this is better, should tell you everything you need to know.
Like most fans I just want this miserable season to be mercifully over. This has been the worst 2 consecutive years of football I can recall since the 90s. I’d willingly miss the playoff if it meant firing Dickenson 2 weeks earlier.
Other random thoughts:
- In 6 of our 9 road games we have failed to score 20 points.
- Tevin Jones is a lazy player who I think should ride the pine and I’ll say it every week until it happens.
- I want to know the story behind Meskell’s black eye.
- Its clearly a scheme thing but routinely our safety is nowhere near the middle of the field. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue moving the safety around, but no one ever seems to fill that zone and the middle always seems wide open.