A View From the Stands: Domination in Hog Town Edition.
Published: Tuesday, Oct 1st 2019, 7:10am
By: Sheldon Jones (@SheldonJones83)
The Saskatchewan Roughriders made their way east to the Big Smoke to face the Toronto Argonauts for the second and last time this season. This marked the beginning of the final (and most crucial) third of the regular season. While the Argos have improved little by little this season, Saturday's game should have been considered an easy game for the roughies regardless of the fact that the Roughriders were playing on the road. Here are my thoughts on the game and what's in store for the Riders next week.
- Unfortunately for the Riders, of the remaining six games this season, four are on the road. Fortunately for the Riders, there were more Roughrider fans at BMO Field than Argonaut fans on Saturday. As much as I hate the lack of support the Boatmen have in the largest city in the country, the team has not been winning or playing entertaining football. Corey Chamblin deserves another chance next year to right the ship and I hope the fans in Toronto come out to support them.
- Speaking of Chamblin, he (or maybe GM Jim Popp, more on that later) decided to start QB James Franklin, who hasn't played since the first meeting of these two teams on Canada Day at Mosaic Stadium in Regina. Franklin left that game with an injury and since then, one of the few bright spots of the Toronto Argos this season has been the play of MacLeod Bethel Thompson of late. The only reason I can think of to start Franklin is that Popp wanted to try to showcase him for a possible trade to either The Winnipeg Blue Bombers or Edmonton Eskimos who both might be looking for a veteran QB for the playoffs. Unfortunately for Jim Popp, this showcase did not go well. Franklin threw for just over 200 yards but most of that (other than an early 42 yard strike to Derel Walker) was in garbage time after the game was over. I'm not sure there is a future for Franklin in Toronto so it will be interesting to see where (if) he lands at a training camp next year.
- On the other hand, Rider starting QB Cody Fajardo continues to add potentially tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars to his next deal (hopefully) with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. While only throwing for 278 yards he made most of them count as he had an 85.2 completion percentage, along with 3 TD strikes including a 55 yard lazer beam to Emanuel Arceneaux for his first TD as a Rider. Fajardo also rushed for a game high 80 yards and a touchdown. I know it was against Toronto but Cody continues to get his "Sprinkles of Jesus" to fall and has lead the Roughriders to a 8-1 record in their last nine games. I know it makes sense to Cody to wait it out for a huge contract, but Jeremy O'Day needs to lock him up ASAP. He has earned a starting QB salary.
- The Manny Show finally had it debut in green this week when Arceneaux got his first TD of the season. Manny is giving HC Craig Dickenson a lot to think about as he is certainly trying to find a way to get returning 2018 West Division Rookie of the Year Jordan Williams Lambert into the starting line up. Manny showed that he still has it as he got behind 2 defenders to catch Fajardo's pass in stride to walk untouched into the endzone.
- Charleston Hughes continues to ride the waves as he now leads the CFL with 15 QB sacks after getting to Franklin twice on Saturday. Hughes continues to voice his displeasure with the media and CFL on TSN Panel for not showing him enough respect in regards to the potential nominees for the Defensive Player of the Year award. This lack of respect seems to be fueling him and I love it. Could we possibly see Hughes reach the CFL record for sacks in a season currently held by James Parker (26.5)? The last player to come even remotely close was Cameron Wake in 2008 when he had 23 sacks for BC before he went on to have a stellar NFL Career.
- I love the continuation of the Riders utilizing their "Boycott Average" big play chain. The boys definitely get fired up for it and it's a great thing for us fans to get excited for too. Seeing Manny get to wear it was extra special.
- With Hamilton going into IG Field in Winnipeg and laying a whooping on the Blue Bombers, the game next week between the Bombers and the Riders got even bigger. Whoever wins will get the season series and most likely will decide who gets at least second place and a home playoff game. Also with the news last week that Bombers starting QB Matt Nichols will no longer be able to come back this year after having season ending shoulder surgery the future is looking bleak. The Blue Bombers are now Chris Streveler's team and if defensive coordinator's can follow Hamilton's Mark Washington's game plan to take away the run and to make Streveler beat you with the pass, it will be a long offseason full of "what ifs" for bomber fans after having their best shot at conquering the streak of their Grey Cup drought. Let's see what Paul LaPolice can come up with.
Lucky for us fans, the Roughriders were on the road this weekend as we saw an early winter storm hit the prairies. Long range forecast shows a high of 9 degrees with showers for Saturday's tilt, so hopefully that changes but certainly will be better than sleet and snow. The game has a few promotions as it it's Community Appreciation Game. It's the annual "Pink Game" where they raise money for Cameco Touchdowns for Dreams by selling pink toques and it's also Military Appreciation Night with get this.... A FLYBY. Finally, I have been waiting for a flyby for a LONG time. For these reasons and another matchup with our bitter rivals the Blue Bombers, Saturday can not come fast enough.