“Baggage Claim”

Photo: Liam Richards, The Canadian Press

Darian Durant looked in control on Friday night.

Even when the Riders weren’t scoring touchdowns and settling for field goals, the Riders were successfully moving the ball and keeping their defence off the field.

In the first half, it looked like it was going to be a long day for the defence.  The Stampeders’ receivers were catching everything, Calgary QB Drew Tate was pretty much untouched and even though they weren’t running the ball well, they were often in second and short situations.

Then came the third quarter.

I don’t know what happened, but everything changed in the third quarter.  The Riders’ offence dominated, Calgary took a couple of stupid penalties, and the wheels fell off for the Stamps.  Time of possession in the second half: Saskatchewan 21:57, Calgary 8:03.

I’m still somewhat confused as to why the Stamps didn’t run Jon Cornish more.  He ran for 170+ yards the previous week; why go away from what’s working?

But that’s not our problem, is it?

Nope.  Right now, things seem to be firing on all cylinders for the Riders.  They’re 2-0, leading the CFL and already have two wins against Western Division opponents in the bag.

It’s a nice position to be in.

Now for Things That Worked and Things That Didn’t…

Things That Worked

  1. The running game – 133 yards for Korey Sheets this week.  Another personal best.  Add in a ridiculous effort to get the go-ahead TD in the third quarter, and it was another monster effort by the Riders’ number one running back.
  2. The passing game – Darian Durant continues to impress.  26/34 for 258 yards and 2 TD and 0 INTERCEPTIONS.  He looks great right now.
  3. NO TURNOVERS.  This is a recording…
  4. Offensive play calling – It’s so imaginative.  The great sets to help rookie OT Ben Heenan, the play action, the roll outs – it’s like we have an offensive coordinator who actually knows what he’s doing.  All hail George Cortez!
  5. Return game – Jock Sanders looked a lot more comfortable this week.  He’s going to break out and scored a TD pretty soon, I imagine.
  6. Ricky Schmitt – He punted the crap out of the football.  When he pinned the Stamps deep in the second quarter by putting some backspin on the football, I just about cried.  It truly was that amazing.
  7. Field goals – Chris Milo was 4/4.  Good job.

Things That Didn’t Work

  1. Defensive line pressure – Still need to get more pressure from our front four, but given how good Calgary’s offensive line is, it was decent.
  2. Penalties on returns – I am so sick and tired of hearing, “Illegal block/holding, Saskatchewan number ____” on returns.  Fix it.

Mis-play of the Game:

Apparently Rod Black and Glen Suitor don’t listen to the half-time show that carefully.  It was Chris Getzlaf they were talking about going against Jonathan Hefney.  Not Weston Dressler.

OFFENSIVE STAR

#7 – Weston Dressler, Slotback

From the beginning of the game, WD7 was the featured receiver.  He had a great catch-and-run TD to open up the scoring for the Riders, and he had the Stamps

DEFENSIVE STAR

#3 – Macho Harris, Defensive Back

He had a ridiculous interception taken away from him last week when Coach Chamblin couldn’t seem to get his challenge flag out of his back pocket, so the gift interception from Kevin Glenn at the end of the game was justice.  He had a great game, and made a couple of great knock downs on some long balls that helped keep the Stamps from trying to make a game of things in the second half.  Great effort.

SPECIAL TEAMS STAR

#2 – Jock Sanders, Returner/Running Back

Excellent effort all game.  A couple of times he looked like he was going to be down, but then he’d make something out of nothing.  Could be a special returner for the Riders.  Corey Holmes 2.0?

NEXT WEEK: @ TORONTO: It’s a short week for the Riders and a long flight.  I’m not sure what to think of Toronto quite yet.  Their defence doesn’t seem as dominating as it was last year, and their offence has been inconsistent.  Should be a good matchup, and for some reason I expect the Riders to beat the defending Grey Cup champs.

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