A View From The Stands: Labour Day Classic Edition
Published: Wednesday, Sep 4th 2019, 7:09am
by: Sheldon Jones (@SheldonJones83)
The 2019 Labour Day Classic certainly lived up to its moniker on Sunday as the 2nd Place Saskatchewan Roughriders improved their record to 7-3 after defeating the visiting 1st place Winnipeg Blue Bombers (8-3) on a walk off game winning field goal by Brett Lauther. Lauther and co. then proceeded to storm Pilsner Place to celebrate with RiderNation. In a defensive struggle Riders QB Cody Fajardo lead his team of the drive of the year to get into FG range for Lauther to split the uprights with 0:00 left on the game clock. As always, here are my thoughts about the game and looking ahead to our Banjo Bowl rematch on Saturday in Winnipeg.
- Matt Nichols might need to trademark his “Game-Manager” nickname before Cody Fajardo steals it like the Riders stole the win on Sunday. Fajardo shook off an early bad decision on a forced throw that turned into an interception deep in bomber territory in the 1st quarter. He did throw another INT later in the game but that was a 50/50 ball and just a tad underthrown / the defender made a play, nothing horrible about that. He then took command and march the Riders down the field on a drive that started on their own 5-yard line with 3:18 left in the game. Anyone who thinks that the Riders are still having to deal with their “back-up” QB starting needs to get a clue, Fajardo has become a legit starter in this league.
- The fact that the riders needed all 60 minutes to win this game while playing the Bombers who were missing there 2 most important offensive players is a testament to how good this Bombers team is. However, if the Riders would have finished 3 early drives in Bomber territory early on, this game might look a lot different.
- Bomber HC Mike O’Shea was trying to do his best Jason Maas impression all game long. Early in the game on a Jon Ryan rouge, he was halfway on the field yelling at officials that they should have called intentional No-Yards as the Rider player tackled the bomber as he picked up the ball. Borderline at most, but OK Mike. Later before halftime the Bomber long snapper was pancaked by the Rider DL and unfortunately suffered a concussion as his head hit the ground. O’Shea was livid that it was a penalty as this year the CFL amended the rule on contact to the center on punts and field goals. The amendment clearly says, “Making it illegal for a defensive player to deliver a forcible blow to the long snapper while the snapper’s head is down and they are in a vulnerable position and unable to protect themselves.” Chad Rempel (bombers long snapper) head was up and was upright before contact was made. NOT a penalty. O’Shea continued to stew about this even at the end of the game when he was having words while shaking hands with Rider Coach Craig Dickenson.
- Brett FQUN Lauther. Nothing else needs to be said. That’s My Kicker.
- William Powell continues to show why the Riders made him FA priority number 1. While he did not have a crazy number of yards, his play on the final possession grinding out the clock while getting the Riders to Brett Lauther range was outstanding.
- Speaking of Powell, OC Stephen McAdoo needs to have more packages with him and Marcus Thigpen on the field at the same time. This is the only criticism that I have of Mac and if anyone remembers my tweets last year about the subject, this is great news. Crow tastes lovely with a little salt a pepper.
- If the Riders think that they can play the same as they did on Sunday in Winnipeg on Saturday (which I know they don’t) they will be in for a rude awakening. Bomber RB/QB Chris Streveler looked better than he did last week, but again did not play well enough to be considered a starter. His average yards per attempt was just over 4 yards. The Rider defense needs to shore up those short and middle throws and keep a man spying Streveler to be successful. There is a reason that home and home sweeps are rare, and the Riders will need to get a good lead early if they want to come home with a 7th straight win.
- I can’t wait for early Saturday morning when myself and the whole Piffles Pod crew and friends head east to Winnipeg on the Piffles Pod Banjo Bowl Bus. It is sold out and we are going to be loud and proud cheering on our boys to a huge road win and then celebrate being in 1st place (and winning the season series with the bombers) I can’t wait to meet new people on the bus and some of the amazing bomber fans I follow on twitter. I will be dressing up as Thanos and just as a positive test result for Andrew Harris, a Rider win will be INEVIDABLE