I don’t really remember the 2nd half of the Riders-Argos game. I know it was on the TV; I know the Argos put some points on the board late in the 4th to make the score more flattering for them; and I know that I saw Luca Congi miss a 15-yard field goal. But outside of those few moments, I don’t remember a whole lot else.
It’s understandable that I completely ignored the 2nd half. Besides, it was the 2nd quarter where all the action took place. 30 points in one quarter!! It must be a Rider record or something.
The Riders looked tentative coming out of the gate. The Argos dominated the 1st quarter, and I thought the Green and White might go the way of their western counterparts and lose out to an eastern for the 4th time this week. The run defence looked inept, and Kerry Joseph seemed to be in a comfort zone.
Then came the penalties – against the Argos. And the defence kicked it into second gear. The game was over by half time.
The Riders are now 2-0, a big 4 points up on both BC and Calgary. Those points are going to come in handy in a couple of months.
And I know it’s early in the season, but to all thosenaysayers who pegged the Riders to be last in the West, I just have this to say to you:
OFFENSIVE STAR: #4 – DARIAN DURANT, QUARTERBACK
18/27, 205 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Durant put in a strong performance. It wasn’t flashy, but it silenced a lot of critics who jumped all over him for throwing 3 INTs last week. The TD tosses to Fantuz and Dressler were beautiful. He used his weapons effectively, spreading the ball around to 7 separate receivers. He took an early hit that could have rattled him, but he bounced back like a veteran. I expect him to get better and better as the season progresses.
Honorable mention: The offensive line included three players who didn’t start last week. Kudos to them for holding off a good Argo d-line and giving Durant time to throw the ball.
DEFENSIVE STAR: #90 – STEVIE BAGGS, DEFENSIVE END
1 tackle, 1 sack, 1 interception
Looking at his stats, I’m surprised Baggs didn’t record more tackles. For the second straight game, he flew around the field and was everywhere the ball was. His spin move on Argos o-lineman Rob Murphy was ridiculous and led to the sack on Kerry Joseph that kicked off the Riders’ 30-point 2nd quarter. His athleticism is something to watch, especially on the interception where he tipped a Kerry Joseph throw and dove to recover it. On Friday night, TSN’s Glen Suitor picked BC d-lineman Aaron Hunt to be the CFL’s defensive player of the year (and didn’t BC lose to Hamilton?). It’s very, very early in the season, but I think that if Stevie Baggs keeps playing the way he is, he has a good chance of picking up that trophy.
SPECIAL TEAMS STAR: #50 – JERRELL FREEMAN, LINEBACKER
1 blocked punt, 1 TD
He blocked an Argos punt and recovered it in the end zone to give the Riders a 37-13 lead. Enough said.
Honourable mention: Cover teams were great once again. But a blocked field goal and near-misses on punts are concerns.
Here are the game highlights if you missed them. GO RIDERS!!