Glenn Grounded, Air Canada Takes Flight
by Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
Hello QB controversy! For the 3rd straight game, Kevin Glenn was ineffective and his leash was much shorter this week as Brandon Bridge took over midway through the 2nd quarter with the Riders down 16-3 and looking lost. Enter Brandon Bridge, enter the spark the engine needed to get going on their way to a 27-24 victory. The win puts their record at 8-6, solidifying their spot at 3rd in the West Division, putting them that much closer a playoff spot for the first time since 2014.
Glenn hasn't been himself since injuring his hand and it's putting the Riders in a bad position where they need to overcome double digit deficits just to get back in the game. Granted, that's not all on Glenn, the defense has given up a ton of yards early on in games, but Glenn needs to sit. This team is still Kevin Glenn's team, but there's no way his hand is 100%. Until he can prove that he can throw the ball as good as he was in July/August, Brandon Bridge has to start.
Once Bridge came in, the offense started to click. He was able to move the pocket and make plays happen on his own. His touchdown throw to Naaman Roosevelt (who went over 1,000 yards receiving on the season in the game) was perfect and the zip he has on the ball makes a bigger difference than we think. The Riders outscored Toronto 24-8 the rest of the way and were the much better team in the 2nd half of the game.
Shoutout to this week's Coney Island Poutine Cafe Piffles Player Profile, Caleb Holley for his 75 yard touchdown. He told me that he wanted to be faster, but he was plenty fast on his quick slant route that put the Riders up 24-17.
But let's move to the defense. We said on this past week's Piffles Podcast that the Riders needed to stop James Wilder Jr. And for the most part, they did. He did get 161 yards, but he didn't break off a big run. What I find curious is that the Argos pretty much abandoned the run. Over the last few weeks the Riders have shown that they can't stop it, so I have to question the Argos playcalling (not that I'm upset about it).
I'm not sure what it is about this defense, but they are hot and cold and it can be frustrating to watch. We see a bend but don't break zone defense and are rarely seeing that aggressive defense we were seeing a bit earlier in the season. The secondary is playing very well, it's the front seven that are having the issues. It almost looks like they refuse to cover the middle of the field at times and that really gets to me, because the team has a VERY solid LB crew that should be playing better than they are. Not that they are playing bad, but other than Henoc Muamba's INT Saturday, they were pretty much invisible most of the day. We just aren't seeing any game changing plays by guys that have been all-stars.
Am I being too picky on that? I'm just seeing the Riders getting dominated in the time of possession more often than not lately and the defense will just get worn down being on the field so often. The good news is that DT Nick James can practice this week and could play in Calgary in a few weeks and hopefully they can clog up the middle again and perform like they did 2 months ago.
Kudos to the entire team for overcoming yet another slow start and grinding out another win. Good teams find ways to win games and that's exactly what we've seen the last 2 weeks. All of a sudden my prediction of 10-8 looks like it might be exceeded. Not bad for a homer!
The Riders finish off the season with 3 of their final 4 games at home against Ottawa, Montreal and Edmonton. While 2nd place pretty much out of the picture (still possible, just not probable), these final few games could give the Riders some big momentum going into the playoffs and we all know that once you get to the show, anything can happen!
Chris Jones has already said that Kevin Glenn will start next Friday at Mosaic Stadium against the Ottawa REDBLACKS, but I ask the question to you. Who should start the next game? Kevin Glenn or Brandon Bridge? Let us know and you can bet that we will discuss this on the next Piffles Podcast to be out on Wednesday.
Until then, share your thoughts with us on Twitter @PifflesPod, @Safimod @CFLHottieBowl, @GregOnSports and @RealAlexD. Chat with us on Facebook as well, facebook.com/pifflespodcast and let us know your thoughts on the show and on the team!
The Riders control their own destiny and look like they will be going to Winnipeg for the playoffs. With their 8th win on Saturday, they matched their total from 2015 and 2016 combined. Where are the Chris Jones haters now?
Enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving weekend, enjoy the turkey, ham, stuffing and all the other goodies! I know I'll continue eating crow from earlier in the season (although I'll tell people that it was that article that turned around the season, so you're welcome Rider fans! *winky face*)