“Almost”

ugh

For a good 3 and 2/3 quarters, I was quite sure that my birthday would become infamous.

See, last week, the Riders’ offence was so bad that it couldn’t manage to score one point. It was the first time the Riders had been shut out since 1986.

With about five minutes to go in the third quarter on Friday night, it seemed that October 3, 2014 would be remembered as the day the Riders went a second straight game without putting one point on the scoreboard.

But then the futility ended and the comeback began in earnest.

Down 24-0, the Riders quickly scored two touchdowns and made two point converts for each major. Dan DePalma’s 66 yard catch and run TD ended the nearly 90 minute point drought, and then it was GAME ON.

Some say the Stamps’ defence let up. Regardless, the Riders’ offence finally took advantage of what it was given. Unfortunately, though, it was all for not.

You have to wonder if the Riders could’ve won if they’d gone for the first down on 3rd and 1 late in the fourth quarter. If I was Coach Chamblin, I would’ve gone for it (well, I would’ve first challenged the spot). Your team’s offence has finally been finding ways to consistently move the ball, so let them try and win it instead of putting them in a position where they’re trying not to lose.

So much of sport performance is based on mental intangibles like confidence and perseverance. The Riders seemed to have finally regained a bit of that mental toughness and Coach Chamblin stopped that momentum by taking his offence off the field. Yes, the defence should’ve shut down the Stamps on the ensuing drive – but I’d argue that at that crucial point in the game, the whole team could’ve benefited from a show of faith and commitment from its head coach.

Instead, the comeback stalled and the game was lost.

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

Things That Worked

  1. Scoring – Ending the point-less drought was the really the only goal I really had for the Riders, which is so ridiculous.
  2. Defence – Except for that last drive, the defence was quite good. It kept the Riders in the game and looked much better against the run.

Things That Didn’t Work

  1. Seth Doege – I kind of felt bad for him. It looked like Dressler maybe slowed up a bit on that first interception, and there was obviously some miscommunication on the second. He actually managed to get some first downs in the first quarter and was at least trying to stretch the field, which is more than I can say for Tino Sunseri last week.
  2. Kickoffs/punting – Wow. Our cover teams have no chance right now. The inability to kick deep and the lack of any hang time is killing us in terms of field position.
  3. Challenges – Coach, you’ve gotta challenge that spot in the 4th quarter.

Mis-plays of the Game:

Besides the entire offensive performance for the first 3 and 2/3 quarters, the illegal substitution call that gave the Stamps a first down and led to the winning touchdown. And, of course, not going for it on third down late in the fourth quarter.

OFFENSIVE STAR

#82 – Dan DePalma, Wide Receiver

The man that ended the scoring drought.  Enough said.

DEFENSIVE STAR

Everyone

The defence managed to limit the Stamps to 9 points in the first half when the score likely should have been something like 28-0.  The Stamps played on a short field for most of the first half, making the defence’s performance that much more impressive.

SPECIAL TEAMS STAR

No one

Our special teams suck.

NEXT WEEK: at MONTREAL:  The Riders never play well in Montreal; I don’t know what it is about Molson Stadium, but it seems to be surrounded by some sort of vortex that causes the Riders to play rather badly.  In that way it’s a lot like Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.  Anyway, if the Riders can manage to beat the Als, they’ll have a very good shot at staying in the West for the playoffs rather than having to crossover and try to make it to the Grey Cup through the East Division.  Edmonton, BC and Winnipeg all lost this week; the Riders need to take advantage.

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