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Eastward Bound: Riders stumble into Playoffs

Published: Sunday, Nov 5th 2017, 7:11pm

By Greg McCulloch (@GregOnSports)

At the beginning of the season, all of us at Piffles looked at the schedule and tried to predict records for every team.  Alex, Ferlin, and I each had the Riders at 10-8, which honestly was the only thing we got right. So, the football god must have decided to make the prophecy true, as the Riders lost a lazy and boring affair at a snowy Mosaic Stadium.

While it is not panic time for the Riders, last nights game showed they still have things to work on as they head into the playoffs.

There were undisciplined play and penalties everywhere.  Riders had 11 penalties for 124 yards, which you cannot do in the playoffs if you want to win.

Also, Can the Riders go an entire season without a too many men call? I am so sick of the 2009 jokes and memes.

The offence looked disjointed at uninterested at times. Besides Marcus Thigpen and the occasional broken play save by Brandon Bridge the offence was close to being a complete disaster.

Duron Carter didn’t catch a ball last night… Let that sink in the Riders Most Outstanding Player nominee was non-existent. Honestly, that was no fault of his, as it seemed he wasn’t even targeted till midway through the second half with balls that weren’t on target.

However, if your offence is having troubles getting into second gear, you need to change it up and get the ball into the hands of you playmakers like Carter.

Let’s break a few other things down.

2 Quarterbacks aren’t going away

As is the new tradition at the post-game media availability Head Coach Chris Jones immediately stated that Kevin Glenn will be starting the East Semi. Which is no surprise to anyone if you have been paying attention.

Jones has been starting Glenn and pulling him quickly when it appears that the defence has been getting pressure on him. Which happened very early last night when it appeared that John Chick and Almondo Sewell were setting up camp in the Riders backfield.

Many in Ridernation are scratching their heads wondering why Jones refuses to commit to Brandon Bridge but at the same time if this system isn’t broken, why fix it.

Feeling (Labatte) Blue

Last night, you could hear the collective gasp of Ridernation when Most Outstanding Lineman nominee Brendan Labatte went down to an apparent ankle injury. Labatte has played a great season at multiple positions after missing most of last season.

While there is no definitive diagnosis, Jones stated it was probably unlikely that he will be out for the first playoff game.

Not exactly ideal going into the playoffs.

Riders 3K

Last night, Friend of Piffles, Bakari Grant surpassed 1000 yards receiving in a season for the first time in his career.  It was good to see Grant surpass that mark after last week’s brain fart on his way to the end zone.

Grant joins Namaan Roosevelt and Duron Carter on the 1000-yard reception list for the 2017 season.  The Riders haven’t had a 1000-yard triumvirate since 2013’s trio of Taj Smith, Chris Getzlaf, and Weston Dressler.

I’m glad I don’t make the calls

Honestly, while it is fun to play armchair GM/Coach, I am glad I don’t have to decide the playoff roster. The Riders are so stacked at key positions that an extremely talented player is going to have to be told they aren’t playing.

Everyone has been talking about who out of the receivers will have to sit it out for the playoffs but after last night I think running back is also a giant question mark.

With Trent Richardson, Cameron Marshall, and Marcus Thigpen you could do some amazing things with any of those running backs. However, the signing of Shakir Bell makes me think that either Richardson or Marshall, or even both, are more hurt than originally reported.

Can’t wait to see the playoff roster.

The Road to Ottawa goes through… ummm… Ottawa

With the loss the Riders head East to play the defending Grey Cup champions Ottawa in the Eastern Semi-final, while the Eskimos head slightly less East to Winnipeg to play the limping Bombers in the West Semi-final.

Who Likes to Party???

We will be hosting a playoff watch party on Sunday starting at 11:30 am at the Press Box Sports Bar in Regina (909 Albert St). Come watch the Rider game with the Piffles Crew.

Let us know if you are coming out, should be a fun time.

More details to come.

 

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