Riders Blown Out in Winnipeg, Suffer Bigger Loss on O-Line
Published: Saturday, Oct 13th 2018, 2:10pm
by Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
Do we really have to talk about how terrible this game was for the Riders? Zach Collaros and the offense was beyond terrible, the defense, while not all that bad, was uninspiring, but as we talked about on the Piffles Podcast this week, we didn't expect a win this game. We also didn't expect to be blown out of the water like that. This was likely a West Division Semi-Final preview and the Riders have to be concerned that Winnipeg is heating up while the Riders haven't scored an offensive touchdown in over two weeks. I'm sure that if they meet again this season, things will be different, but it's still something to worry about.
It was 31-0 after the first half for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers thanks to 3 turnovers. 2 interceptions thrown by Collaros (both directly to Taylor Loffler) and a fumble by Kyran Moore (returned by Anthony Gaitor for a touchdown) and that's all Winnipeg needed. Simply put, this Riders team was not ready on a short week against a rested Bombers team.
BUT, they always have a stinker like this every year. I'm not really too worried about this game all that much. Yeah, the loss is disappointing, but they are still 10-6 and STILL 2nd place in the West Division, which would give the Riders their first home playoff game in the new Mosaic Stadium. The Riders still have essentially a two game lead on Winnipeg for that spot in the standings even though there is only one game between them. You can thank Labour Day and the Banjo Bowl wins for that, as the Riders have the season series against Winnipeg 2-1. That means Winnipeg would still have to finish AHEAD of the Riders, not tied with them.
The Riders have a date in Calgary next week and a home game against BC left this season. Winnipeg has to hope the Riders lose BOTH of those games and they win out against Calgary and Edmonton to finish in 2nd. Of course BC could still get in the mix if they win out and the Riders lose out, but we won't worry about that (especially if Calgary beats BC later tonight).
The loss sucks, especially the way it happened, but the biggest loss of the day was second year offensive lineman Dariusz Bladek. Bladek's left leg got rolled up on and he had to exit the game on a cart. This is a massive loss to the Riders O-Line, especially if Dan Clark is forced to miss more time. From the sounds of it, this is a season ending knee injury for Bladek. 2016 1st overall pick Josiah St. John took Bladek's place at right guard and quite honestly, he isn't ready to be a starting lineman and we all wonder if he ever will be.
The trade made by the Riders earlier this week acquiring Philip Blake from the Montreal Alouettes is proving to be a much bigger deal now than a few days ago. If Dan Clark is back next week against Calgary, Blake likely goes to right guard and St. John stays at his backup role. Once Bladek went out, the Bombers defense teed off on the Riders O-Line. As poor as both Collaros and Bridge were, they had little to no time to scan the field. The Riders have been pretty lucky this season when it comes to O-Line injuries, but this one comes at the worst time. Heal up soon Dariusz!
Late in the game, the Riders best run stopper on the D-Line, Mic'hael Brooks was taken off on the cart with a left ankle injury. This is another loss as when the weather gets colder, teams run the ball more and the Riders will need all hands on deck in the playoffs. Luckily D-Line isn't a concern on this team, but still. The recent rash of injuries that have hit the Riders have hit hard. Hopefully there aren't any more and they can get Roosevelt and Williams-Lambert back soon.
With 2 games left on the schedule, the Riders still hold their 2nd place hopes in their hands... just don't expect anything drastic to change with the offense. As much as we've complained about how poor and inconsistent they have been all year, we have to accept that one or two touchdowns is the ceiling for this team and the defense needs to play nearly perfect for the Riders to win a playoff game, let alone three.
If there ARE some positives that came out of this game, it's that the punt coverage team was really good (they had a lot of practice, too!) and they didn't get outscored in the second half!
Brush it off, focus up and get ready for Calgary. I hope.