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A View From The Stands - Riders Tame the Lions

Published: Tuesday, Oct 22nd 2019, 11:10am

By: Sheldon Jones (@SheldonJones83)

 

This past weekend the Saskatchewan Roughriders made a little business trip to the left coast and picked

up a W against the Host BC Lions. In a game that had everything for the Riders to play for and nothing

for the Lions, the matchup turned out to be far closer than most CFL fans might have thought. BC has

been playing a lot better as of late (4 wins in their last 5), but to be fair, they were playing against two of

the worst teams in the league before dropping a close game to Edmonton. The Roughriders have been

playing good football ever since the blowout loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 2019 Banjo Bowl.

They were however coming off a close loss to the Calgary Stampeders in a game where they did not play

their best football, but still had a chance to steal one in the unfriendly confines of McMahon Stadium. I

offer my thoughts on the game and look ahead to another crucial game the Riders have in Edmonton

this weekend.

 

- After professing himself to the TSN cameras as the “best receiver in the CFL” Shaq Evans has had

two lackluster games. After missing an early long bomb in Calgary, Shaq has only managed to

have 5 receptions for 50 yards in the past 2 games. Evans will need to finish off the regular

season with a couple great games if he wants to keep his name in consideration for even top 5

receivers.

 

- Bryan Burnham on the other hand, is hands down the best receiver in the CFL. Burnham made 2

amazing catches on Friday night (only one of which counted) that were highlight reel receptions.

The first catch was a crazy body twisting one-handed grab, all while Burnham tried to get his

foot down in bounds. His foot ended up almost in, the tip of his toe was on the white and

unfortunately did not count. Even though it wan incomplete, this catch would probably win the

TSN catch of the year. Burnham’s second grab came in the 4 th quarter. He wrestled the ball away

from Rider DB Elie Bouka and then had the wherewithal to reach for the goal line. Burnham is

fun to watch.

 

- Matt Nichols might have to take issue with Cody Fajardo for taking away his moniker as Fajardo

had another “game manager” type of game. Fajardo went 21-27 for 224 yards and one TD.

Fajardo and the Riders had some trouble finishing drives, leading to only 2 TD’s in 4 trips to the

Green Zone. The Riders will need to convert more TD’s when in the score zone come playoffs.

News come out on Monday that Cody and Roughriders GM Jeremy O’Day came to terms late

Sunday night on a 2-year contract extension. This is great news for all parties concerned. If

reports are correct Cody will see around 450 thousand dollars per year which is a substantial

raise based on his maximum 150 thousand that he could earn this season (with all incentives

reached). Its also good news for the team as they don’t have a QB with a Mike Reilly or Bo Levi

Mitchell type contract and will be able to spread some more money around the rest of the stars

on the Riders.

 

- Riders starting RB William Powell likes playing in BC Place. In two trips this year Powell has

accumulated 257 yards and 4 touchdowns. He averaged 7.2 yard per carry against the Lions in

Vancouver. It seems like the Riders have been using some load management tactics with Powell

as he hasn’t really had any back to back huge games this season. If they were saving him for the

end of the season, I sincerely hope that they utilize him to the fullest in the home and home with Edmonton.

While I do not want to see him injured, I do want to see the Riders offense show the ability to be a demoralizing

ground and pound team that can wear opponents down

and then be able to take deep shots down the field on play action.

 

- While the Riders did have a better game penalty wise, they are still a very undisciplined team.

Hopefully they get it out of their system soon as they can not continue to shoot themselves in

the foot and take scores off the board. There was no reason for the illegal block on Purifoy’s

100-yard kickoff return TD that was called back as the BC player wouldn’t have had a chance at

the tackle anyway.

 

- I feel like the Riders played down to their opponents’ level on Friday, and they cannot do that

again in these next two regular season games. The Green and White has a legitimate shot at

getting first place in the Western Division and hosting only their 3 rd West Final. Two wins against

the Eskimos and one Calgary loss (to either the Blue Bombers or Lions) and the Riders would

finish first. Subsequently a Rider win (or tie) or a Bomber loss (or Tie) and the Riders will clinch

at least 2 nd place.

 

These next two games will show us Rider fans a lot about the playoff chances for the team this year. If

they can play more disciplined and limit mistakes the sky is the limit for the 2019 Saskatchewan

Roughriders. If you would have asked me the chances of saying that on the 3 rd play of the season, I

would have said zero. Cody Fajardo has been a major surprise this year and continues to back in up not

only on the field, but in the community as well. It is now up to Commander Cody to lead the Riders to

battle in a tough home and home series with Edmonton. The Eskimos look to be getting QB Trevor

Harris back from injury. Harris has done statistically quite well against the Riders in previous meetings so

our defense will need to continue excelling. If the Riders can escape Commonwealth Stadium with a win

on Saturday (after hopefully the Bombers can upset the Stampeders on Friday) 1 st place is a real

possibility. But as the players and coaches say, we need to take this one game at a time Rider Nation.

#BE13IVE

 

 

 

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