Saturday, July 6, 2024

Saturday Morning Sentimonies: Bonus, Undefeated Edition

Riders 30 – Argos 23

You might be wondering what would possess a notoriously lazy man to post early (and not the more likely late and/or not at all). Well, I leave tomorrow on my annual spiritual retreat… the retreat being held at a fishing resort and the spirits being the liquid kind. I will be off the grid from Sunday until just before our next game on Saturday. So there will be no Game Preview post on Friday. And rather than deny you 2 posts, I am blessing you with my sentimonies before I go. 

What a game! After pushing their undefeated streak to 4 games and taking down a quality opponent in the process, it may just be time we start taking this team seriously. I am not saying plan the parade route (trust me a few enthusiasts are no doubt already on that). I am just saying that we might be more than just the best of the bottom tier teams. We may be contenders. 

Shea Patterson passed the first test… barely but C’s get degrees. His first quarter was awful. To his credit, he did not turn the ball over which is important for a young QB. But he really didn’t do anything. True to my scouting report, he only saw the right side of the field and the only time he went left he failed miserably at the patented Fajardo spin left. But the defense (more on them later) held us in the game until a magical drive in the 2nd quarter when a spark was lit. Starting at our own 16, Patterson led a 8 play, 94 yard drive that culminated in a highlight reel Emilus TD. He hit 5 different receivers on the drive. The complexion of the game changed right there. It was the first time all year we did something productive in the second quarter. Patterson was far from an all-star the rest of the game, but he definitely settled down, was more productive and confident. He still has an insane bias to the right side of the field that will eventually catch up with him but even in a so-so performance he scored two TDs and got the job done. Harris would have eaten that Argo D alive.

The other offensive player to highlight is Logan Ferland. Normally a guard sliding out to tackle due to injury creates a weakness in your line. Not with Ferland. I don’t want him starting there full time but he does a great job at tackle whenever called on. It does make me wonder why we didn’t try him when we were rotating through some of the worst American tackles imaginable over the past 2 years. Telling me he would not have been an upgrade?

Defensively they dominated. They allowed 3 total points in the first half and 6 points through 3 quarters. 2 sacks and 5, count ‘em 5 turnovers. When we needed them most they stepped up and delivered. Best game so far of the season for Micah and Lanier. Thurman is a force out there. Milligan may be the most well rounded DB in the league. I’ve seen guys that cover as well. I’ve seen guys that tackle as well. I’ve seen very few that do both extremely well. After a rough game 1, Marcus Sayles is settling in nicely. I take back most of the awful things I said about him. My scouting report was that running was the Argos' strength and we take that away better than anyone. Well low and behold, without the benefit of a dominant running attack, Cameron Dukes went from being talked about as a future all-star to being talked about as someone doing a great homage to when his head coach played in the Grey Cup. Not writing Dukes off but he’s still got lots of developing to do. 

The one thing that I think will become the calling card of Corey Mace is overcoming adversity. In Game 1 and 2 we needed miracle 4th quarter comebacks, but we won. In Game 3 we lost our starting QB, but still won. In Game 4 we played out toughest opponent to date, with a backup QB who sucked to start, but we still won. He has instilled a never give up mentality in that team and they believe they can overcome whatever gets placed before them. It’s a welcome change from the fold early and try next time mentality we dealt with for the past 2 years. 

With Montreal and BC on the road over the next 3 weeks the challenges only increase from here but there is reason to believe again in Riderville.

Other random thoughts:

-        People keep talking about how good Toronto’s D is and I don’t get why. They have McManis and decent front 4 but they have allowed more points than any team not name Hamilton and allow more passing yards than anyone. They are maybe a mediocre defense.

-        I love that we iced the game by pulling out the “they forgot that Mitch Picton exists” page of the playbook. The first one was too the left side too.

-        Yards won’t show it but Ouelette had a solid game and the hard yards he earned were key.

-        I almost lost it when Mace was thinking about going for it rather than taking the field goal to make it a 2 score game late in the 4th. Fortunately, logic prevailed.

-        DeMarcus Fields did not register a defensive stat… for someone playing halfback that is a very good sign. Means they were not targeting receivers in his area.

-        Seems wrong that the Williams INT counts against Dukes. He made a good pass, Williams just stole the ball away from the WR.

-        The lightning was definitely much closer during the last game than it was went they called a lightning delay to warmups.

See you in a week.

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