Elation turns back to Frustration - Game Review
Published: Friday, Aug 3rd 2018, 9:08am
by: Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)
Elation turned back to frustration in Rider Nation as the Riders turn a late 4th quarter lead into a 26-19 defeat to the Edmonton Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium last night.
The Riders held Mike Reilly and the Eskimos receivers in check for most of the game. In fact, at the start of the 4th quarter, Reilly only had 6 completed passes. In the end, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, and the Riders fall back to 3-4 and 4th place in the West with the Calgary Stampeders coming to town after the bye week.
Thoughts from the game
- The Riders inability to move the ball on short yardage is a momentum killer. We saw them fumble the ball versus Calgary last week on 3rd and short. This week, they couldn’t seem to get any kind of push, and ended up being stopped short twice from the one yard line. In fact, even earlier, they needed all 3 tries from 1st and goal from the 1 yard line, and even then they barely scored. The Eskimos defense got push all game long on short yardage, and it may have cost us the game.
- Someone on the coaching staff has to answer for the inexcusable mistake of leaving Matt Elam off the game day roster, forcing the Riders to play with 41 men on the roster. This, combined with injuries, led to Tobi Antigha playing safety for the majority of the game.
- The refereeing in this game was absolutely atrocious. I will not pin the loss on the refs, but they certainly didn’t help. Two plays specifically stand out. The unnecessary roughness call on the hard hit by Albert Awachie and the missed call on the Suplex tackle on Marcus Thigpen. The Awachie call was late, and seemed to be responding to the fact that the returner was injured. The suplex tackle on Thigpen should have been an easy call, and one we got flagged for in the East Semi Final. That missed call should have given the Riders a fresh set of downs deep in Edmonton territory, but instead we had to settle for a Brett Lauther field goal.
- The Riders defense was great, almost all night, but had a propensity for giving up longer passing plays. 2 big plays to Derel Walker (61 yard in broken coverage and 37 yard TD catch) and another to Kenny Stafford that led to the winning points (46 yards).
- Nick Marshall’s return was huge. He did a damn good job all night, and spend a good majority of it covering Duke Williams. That’s a tall task to ask of anyone, and he succeeded. The defense is better with him in the defensive backfield and Duron Carter back on offense. We saw Marshall shaking his hand late in the 4th quarter. Hopefully there is no injury concern there as we need him back there after the bye week.
- Speaking of Duron Carter, how great is it to have him back on offense? 3 catches for 49 yards including a 41 yard touchdown reception in his first game back after covering Nick Marshall’s spot for 5 games. He looked great out there. Plus, with defenses needing to respect Duron Carter’s ability, it opened up the game for Jordan Williams-Lambert, who had a great game.
- The return of Zach Collaros was a welcome change. It was great to see a QB that progresses through his reads from the pocket, rather than looking at his first read and then immediately looking to take off/scramble. Collaros looked poised back there all night long, even in the face of pressure. Give him another game or two with the offense, and we may start to see the offense that Chris Jones and the Riders envisioned.
- Jason Maas needs to cut his tantrums out. As funny as they are to watch, they are embarrassing.
In the end, there were a ton of positives to take from this game. The Riders offense scored two touchdowns, and should have had a third. They moved the ball much more efficiently, and kept their defense off the field for longer than 2 plays at a time for the majority of the game. While I’m still not a fan of the play calling from Stephen McAdoo, and the execution in short yardage is atrocious, yesterday was the first time all season since the home opener, where I felt the Riders offense could actually march down the field and score on any drive. The defense is still a championship quality defense. For this team to win, we don’t need an offense that can score 40 at will. But regularly hitting 25 would be nice.