Okay, Rider fans. Let’s not get all upset about tonight’s shellacking at the hands of the Lions. No heads need to roll, alright? Really, the game wasn’t 42-12. It wasn’t like last week. I really hesitate to use Henry Burris’ own phrase, but what he said last week is true for the Riders: “They didn’t do jack to us, we did it to ourselves.”
Now I mocked Burris for this. Clearly the Riders kicked the Stamps’ asses last week. No questions asked. Tonight, though, the Riders beat themselves up. 31 of the Lions’ 42 points were a result of turnovers. Last week, most of the Riders’ points were the result of offensive drives – hence why Hank’s quote is more applicable in this situation than the former.
The Riders were dreadful in the first half, but woke up in the 2nd. The score really should have been 28-12. Those last 2 touchdowns in the final minute don’t really count.
But I’m happy the Riders lost. I was a little leery of the Ridermania that was sweeping the province. Yes, we won two games, but Grey Cup parade? Everybody take a deep breath and repeat after me: “15 games to go, 15 games to go…”
There are definitely some things the Riders need to work on. The lack of a running game is allowing opposing defences to make life very difficult for our receivers. We need to give the ball to Childs or Cates and utilize them, even if it’s as receivers. At least have them lineup like you’re going to hand it off.
The return game. Oy. Jason Armstead cannot return like he used to. When he was with the Renegades, you’d have to watch his every step, because he could easily burn you. This is not the case anymore. Now he’s dropping the ball, running BACKWARDS, and making bad decisions. Double duty is not working for him anymore.
The defence was stellar tonight. They banged up both Dickenson and Pierce. Bravo. And they kept the Riders in it for as long as they could. And kudos to Andy Fantuz. He’s struggling in his sophomore year, but he made up for a couple of early drops with some solid play in the second half.
Don’t worry, Rider Nation. Don’t lose any sleep over this one. Our boys were on a short week, against the best team in the league. Better to learn this lesson now than in the Western Final again…