Riders VS Alouettes (July 24, 2011)

Who’d have thunk it?

After looking plain ole “bad” the previous three weeks, we come out and steal a gutsy win in Montreal.

Offense: Finally, they awakened.  That long bomb to Dressler was literally our first “big play” of the season.  Cates ran well, and the boys finally showed up.  When Durant runs, good things happen.  Take note of this.  Also take note that handing off to your backup RB with under 45 seconds left, deep in your own end, is a sure-fire way to enrage the masses of the Rider nation.

Defense: Of course, people will wonder what would have happened if AC hadn’t been hurt.  However, I liked seeing us two-and-out him a few times BEFORE we knocked him out.  The D came to play today.

Special Teams: Eddie Money… that’s what they’re calling the surprisingly accurate place-kicker we’ve found ourselves.  Well done, Eddie.

Opponent: Stealing a win against Montreal, IN Montreal… that’s just huge.  Dare I dream that we can NOW get this season rolling.

Overall: Big showdown with the Stamps next week for… wait for it… 2nd place in the West.  Hopefully, momentum can carry, and we finally get a win at home now.

Riders VS Ti-Cats (July 16, 2011)

This game was on TV as my daughter’s first birthday party was happening–did I mention how happy I was that there was SOMETHING else to pay attention to?!

Another quiet blessing was that a fantastic and focused time at church certainly tasted no drag from “football chat”–there was simply nothing to say!  (At least nothing that should be spoken in a church, I suppose.)

Offense: Is there anything to even talk about here?!  Three points in a game, trailing 23-0 before we earned a first down,… wow.  One thought might be that we are missing Fantuz and Bagg more than I thought we would.  I know everyone deals with player movements, but it’s more than apparent that the chemistry our offense enjoyed the past couple seasons is nowhere near present today.  Time to get into the lab, boys!

Defense: More film to dissect, as a previously inept Hamilton offense looked like that of a contender against us.  We get so little push from our front four that I can’t help but wonder if opposing O-lines are circling us on their calendars as “casual day” at work.

Special Teams: Nothing noteworthy about Tristan Jackson yet this season.  I hope that changes soon.  On the positive side, special teams accounted for all our points.

Opponent: Getting stomped by a team you should beat, when you should be desperate… that was hard to take.  “You’re welcome, Hamilton, for being your stepping stool upward.”

Overall: 0-3; definitely discouraging, but certainly not the end.  A road trip to Montreal this week though seems hardly the prescription for healing.  Prove the masses wrong, boys!

Riders VS Alouettes (July 19, 2011)

I was on the road today and failed to see even one play of this game.  I heard the 4th quarter on the radio and then the entire post-game show.  If anything that follows is totally out to lunch, now you know why!

Offense: Sounds like we matched them blow for blow until half-time… and then our 3rd quarter curse continued.

Defense: Coach Hall and his boys will have some MORE film to dissect this week.  It’s near impossible to stop Calvillo without some pressure on him, and it sounds as though he felt heavily protected against our rush.  When a guy like AC gets easy completions to his first or second reads, it’s going to be a long day… and it was.

Special Teams: Didn’t hear much mention of this part of our game; clue me in on what I missed.

Opponent: Two-time defending champs laid a beating on us today.  There is no better team than the Als, and they are the truest measuring stick if a team wants to gauge its championship aspirations.  We now know officially that we have some work to do!  Back to Calvillo once more: When he’s hot (as he was today), there is nearly nothing a defense can do to stop him.  I’d have liked to see us have more success against him, but I’m not shocked to see him shine against a defense still finding itself.

Overall: Two games in, we are a game worse than I thought we would be.  However, next week’s game in Hamilton just got very big, as a Montreal rematch follows in week four.


Riders VS Eskimos (July 3, 2011)

I admit to being surprised to open the season with a loss.  With Montreal coming to town next week, there’s little time to make some significant improvements, with 0-2 a possibly surprising start to this young season.  But before jumping to next week, let’s assess what happened today:

Offense: We’re missing the Canadian Air Force, and we continue struggles from last year at establishing our running game.  Darian looked fine for most of the game.  His stats (3 INTs and a fumble) aren’t flattering, though one pick was late when he was forcing things and another was a goofy deflection.  But despite our issues WITH the ball, this game wasn’t lost on offense.

Defense: Coach Hall and his boys will have some film to dissect this week.  Young CB Eubanks experienced the fire today, as Ricky Ray burned him multiple times.  Our D spent way too much time on the field.  Part of that was them getting shredded; part of it goes back to struggles to sustain drives when we did have the ball.

Special Teams: Eddie Johnson was strong on his field goal, and his punting was solid, aside from one shank.  Stu Foord is not the answer on returns, though I understand that Tristan Jackson got pressed into defensive action with a Kornegay injury.

Opponent: Call me surprised to see Edmonton look so impressive.  Ricky Ray ate us up, as he has on some past occasions.  Fred Stamps was more quiet than usual, but that was more than covered by Adarius Bowman, and even moreso by Jason Barnes.  The Esks may prove to be more “in the hunt” than I was expecting this season.

Overall: One game in, that’s all.  A win would have been better, but the season is young, and there are miles to go.  We need a big week of practice with the champs visiting next weekend.

What was  your take on today’s game?