Monday, June 10, 2024

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Not Pretty But Good Enough

Riders 29 – Elks 21

It was:

-        Shabbier than a hobo’s coat.

-        Uglier than the south end of a northbound mule

-        As pleasant as the laundry hamper of an O-lineman after a summer game

Take your pick. That was an ugly game that probably would have fit better as a 3rd preseason game. But ugly or not the Riders found a way to win. That is definitely not a sustainable way for Cory Mace and his team to win. But on Saturday it was just enough. 

But oh man did they try hard to lose it.

The first couple drives were a little shaky on both sides but then at the 5:38 marker of the 1st Q Harris hit Bane on a beautiful TD and it looked like we were settling into a rhythm. We were not. What ensued over the rest of that quarter and all of the 2nd and 3rd quarter was essentially the Riders playing “find every way possible to blow a game” Bingo. Turnovers, dropped passes, missed tackles, no pressure from the D-line and penalties in all shapes and sizes. Regular penalties, ones that took return TDs off the board, dead ball fouls, ones that resulted in injections. We just crumbled and I was left contemplating how much money I would need to spend on rye to make the rest of the season bearable. 

But while the fans may have given up early on that game, the team did not. They fought back a really flipped the script in an amazing fourth. Suddenly we were forcing turnovers, the Elks were taking penalties and most importantly we were scoring. Well, more specifically Bane was scoring. There have been times where we could not score 3 times in a month and we managed to do it in one quarter. Amazing.

The cherry on top for that wild game is that CJ Avery sealed that game with a pick 38 seconds on the clock… and somehow we managed to not close out the game and gave Edmonton the ball back for a last ditch attempt.

Offensively here is what I saw. I am very excited about our passing game. O-line was pretty good in pass protection. Those 2 INTs weren’t good but for the most part Harris was seeing the field well. Sterns is proving to be a great security blanket underneath. Bane is a star. What I liked the most is that we were aggressive and not afraid to push the ball downfield. didn’t work out but I love going deep on the first play.

The run game is another story. Easy to point fingers at Ouelette. He had a very lackluster debut and fumbled at the worst possible time. But he wasn’t the biggest issue. Our O-line displayed all the run blocking ability of a welcome mat. You could have prime George Reed in the backfield and it would not matter if that’s all our O-line can do. 

Defensively, you definitely noticed energy, aggressive tackling and rallying to the football. Deontai Williams in particular was hitting with authority and forced the fumble that really ignited our comeback. What I did not notice was much impact from the D-line. Only got noticeable pressure on a couple occasions. Even when blitzing we often failed to disrupt Thompson. To their credit the D-line made an impact when it mattered most. Cox forced a fumble. Lanier tipped a pass that led to an INT. But overall the D-line needs to be way better than we saw in that game. 

Let’s be honest. If that were a better team than Edmonton, we don’t have a chance in that one. Good teams will put up more points on you when you go to sleep for 2 quarters. Good teams won’t miss an easy FG in embarrassing fashion. But credit where credit is due. It would have been easy for the team to fold and try again next week aka “the Dickenson method”. But they did not. They kept fighting for a full 60 mins and won even when they did not play their best ball… at least, we all hope that wasn’t their best. 

Lots to improve on going forward but takes the wins however you can get em’.

 Other random thoughts:

-        If they had not eventually called that Ouelette TD in I would have rioted. First they missed a blatant offside on Edmonton. Second the ref right beside Ouellette clearly saw the ball cross the line and then pointed to the far ref to make the call.

-        Was that Alford that the TSN mic’s picked up dropping an F bomb after his TD was called back?

-        The only time I thought we made a coaching error was when we punted from the 42 on 3rd and 5. Obviously weren’t trying for the single but its still a low percentage play. Better off to go for it rather than punt and gain 1 point but give Edm the ball at essentially the same spot as if you didn’t convert on 3rd down.  


Bryce Taylor said...

I was convinced on the Hail Mary attempt our two guys in coverage were going to take each other out and the ball would bounce into Edmonton's hands. And it ALMOST HAPPENED!

If this is how we're going to end every game I'll be dead by mid-season.

Rider Prophet said...

I held my breath on that play for a good couple seconds too... I thought we blew it for a second.