Riders Steal Win over Hamilton, Go Into Bye on a High
Published: Friday, Jul 6th 2018, 8:07am
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
In sports, we don't ask how, just how many. And that is definitely the case with the Riders 18-13 barnburning win over the Hamilton Ticats last night on Thursday Night Football. They did just enough to steal a win and get back to .500 before the bye week thanks to a game winning 34 yard touchdown run from Marcus Thigpen with a minute and a half left in the game.
It's the morning after and I'm still trying to wrap my head around that game... Just by looking at the stat sheet, there's NO WAY the Riders had any business being in that game, let alone winning. Luckily for us fans, games aren't won on paper.
Here's my thoughts on the game:
1. That defense was OUTSTANDING! Sure, they gave up a lot of yards, but it was bend, don't break all night long. The hottest offense in the league was held to 13 points without a touchdown, the Riders defense had a few sacks, an interception (from a Defensive Lineman playing Safety) and a touchdown on a strip-sack fumble recovery. They could have easily had another couple of interceptions, too. This is the defense that needed to show up after a bit of a disppointment last week and a stinker against Ottawa.
2. The defense was the sole reason why the team won. I can't sugar coat it, the offense was HORRIBLE. The run game, the pass game.... they sucked. Bad. Sorry, but 2 nice catches on jump balls by Naaman Roosevelt and Joshua Stanford won't excuse how truly bad they were. What was the gameplan? WAS there a gameplan?? Execution by the players wasn't there... it was... just.... yuck.
3.The QB rotation. WHAT THE BLUE HELL IS CHRIS JONES DOING?? The amount of flip-flopping we saw from Brandon Bridge to David Watford that we saw from Chris Jones is ridiculous. Neither QB had a chance to get ANY kind of rhythm going and both were not really that good. Sure, Brandon Bridge had a nice completion percentage, but those were check downs to the running backs all game long. High school QBs can complete those.
4. The QBs can't read a defense. If the first read isn't there in 2 seconds, the play is broken for this team. This also falls onto the Offensive Line who were again, not good. They weren't BAD by any means, they were just kind of there sometimes. Sorry, Brandon Bridge fans, while he is a suitable backup, he's not a starting QB. He just doesn't have it. I would like to see him behind a better O-Line to give a proper judgement, but with what we have now, he just isn't the guy.
5. To be fair, it's not like Bridge is being given a full chance to show his stuff. Chris Jones is doing god knows what with this offense and he has no clue what he's doing there. Stick to defense, hire someone better than Stephen McAdoo (which won't ever happen) and let them do the job. If the QB play is truly bad, yank em. But at least give them 2 or 3 consecutive series to figure that out. You got lucky because the team won, but that doesn't mask how stupid this is.
6. Duron Carter played really well last night. The defensive schemes changed so that Ed Gainey covered Brandon Banks and Carter covered Terrence Toliver. This was great game planning by Chris Jones and the defensive staff. Toliver is no slouch and Carter held his own. After 2 tough games for Carter, he was much improved, so kudos to the staff and Carter for a great game out there. That said, after the bye week, hopefully we see Carter back on offense where he belongs and a proper DB is back there. Maybe Marshall is back, maybe it's one of the new guys like Elam, but hopefully it isn't Carter, just so we can put our best players in the best spot.
7. This is still a good team. The defense is top notch and the offense is just missing their 2 best players in Carter and Zach Collaros. If we get them back after the bye, I expect much bigger and better from the team.
All in all, a win is a win and winning is NEVER a bad thing. The Riders head into their first bye of the season at 2-2 and are going into it on a win. Hopefully the team can take some time to recharge, get healthy and be ready to go for a tough stretch of the schedule where they play a few road games against western teams. There is still plenty to work on for the team, so the good thing is that they can't really get complacent.
We will discuss this game a bit more in depth on episode 83 of the Piffles Podcast next week. While it wasn't pretty, it was a much needed win, so enjoy the feeling Rider Nation!