A View From the Stands: True Strevelation in Rider Nation Edition
Published: Monday, Oct 7th 2019, 10:10am
By: Sheldon Jones (@SheldonJones83)
On a cool Saturday night in Regina, the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers renewed their rivalry with first place in the CFL's West Division on the line. The Riders had a bitter taste in their mouth after the embarassing defeat to the Bombers in the Banjo Bowl, but were looking to win their 3rd game in a row and 10th out of their last 11. Winnipeg was coming off of a lopsided home loss of their own to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats so I expected them to be fired up and for this game to have a playoff type feel to it. For fans of defensive games they were in for a treat. Here are my random thoughts about the game and what the Riders will look towards next week in Calgary. - Early on there was a feeling of deja vu when the Riders had the Bombers hemmed in deep in their own territory on second and long. In case you don't remember, on the Blue Bombers first offensive series at the Banjo Bowl, the Riders forced Chris Streveler and the Blue and Gold to 2nd and 17 on their own 3 yard line. Streveler scrambled for the first down and then proceeded to lead an 8 minute, 15 play demoralizing drive to score a touchdown and from there the Bombers never let up. This time however, the Riders stuffed Streveler and got some good field position to get the opening field goal and they never looked back. - the Riders offense did a good job of controling the time of possession and had a couple good drives in the first quarter that ended with another field goal and an almost perfect Jon Ryan punt that came inches away from going out of bounds on the right side of the goal line. It did go for a punt single (which did end up being the winning point) but you can not put that on Jon Ryan. - Speaking of Ryan he had another excellent punt that had an unfortunate bounce that did go into the endzone as well. Jon is leading the league in punting and has vastly improved his ball placement as the season has gone on. It is amazing though how a matter of inches can decide whether the offence starts at the 1 yard line, or moves them all the way up to the 35. - For the second consecutive game QB Cody Fajardo led the Roughriders in rushing. While it's great that Cody is able to effectively run the ball, my Father in law and I were discussing that it's unfortunate we couldn't get Powell grinding the ball more in the 4th quarter and especially on that drive immediately after the Riders sacked Streveler on 3rd down to force the turnover on downs and effectively seal the win. I know that Winnipeg is a tough team to run against so I'm not too worried but hope to see some more of a rushing attack in the weeks to come. - It was not the offensive lines best day as they allowed 3 QB sacks (it felt like more) in the game. Fajardo did not have the same amount of time in the pocket as he has been accustomed to and the Riders failed to get 100 yards rushing. With Brendan Labatte cing off the injury list last game the OLine was firing on all cylinders against the Argos but definitely faced a more formidable Bomber DLine. - I was happy to see that Zack Evans was good to go in the game and he looked to have not missed a beat as he got a key pass knockdown and recovered a Chris Streveler fumble in the second half. It's always good when your Canadian starters are available. - For a second week in a row, a defence has shown the perfect way to defend against Chris Streveler and expose him to be the running back he is who can sometimes hit a deep throw. He did have the one nice long pass to Darvin Adams, but looked lost on most of his pass attempts when he had time in the pocket. The secondary was covering very well and while he does have more ability than Brandon Bridge, he reminded me of his lack of ability to read the defence. He is also VERY lucky that he did not have 3 more interceptions as Mike Edem, Loucheiz Purifoy and Solomon Elimimian all dropped sure interceptions. The Bombers are in trouble as Matt Nichols will not be able to come back this year and I do not think that Streveler will be able to take them deep in the playoffs. With this win (and Calgary's loss to Montreal) the Riders sit alone on top of the West Division standing with a 10 and 4 record. The game on Friday against the stamps at McMahon Stadium in Calgary is a big one, but the Riders would need a miracle to beat the Stampeders by the required 28 points to get the season series. But they should not worry about that because if they do beat Calgary they will be effectively 2 games up on them with only 3 games left. If the Riders can force Bo Levi Mitchell to turn the ball over as much as he did against Montreal they could squeak out a rare regular season victory in Calgary. Although with the way the Riders have played in these last 11 games (take out the banjo bowl performance) and they are one of, if not, the hottest teams in the league. It is not out of the realm of possibility that they take care of business against the stamps and get the big W.