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Riders Defense Wreaks Havoc, Patterson Wins First CFL Start vs Toronto

Published: Friday, Jul 5th 2024, 9:07am

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)

 

 

Last night was an absolutely GORGEOUS night for football in Regina and what a night we got at Mosaic Stadium with the Riders moving to 4-0 on the season after a big win over the Argonauts!

Here’s some thoughts on last night’s Roughriders 30-23 victory over Toronto on The Morning After.

 

We start off with the one player we were all curious about heading into this game, Riders QB Shea Patterson. How was he going to look in his first CFL start after the Trevor Harris injury? Well, that first half started out a little rough. Passes nowhere near the receivers, very few drives getting more than a single first down. There were a lot of comments around me about this was going to be a long night.

But then that touchdown drive in the 2nd quarter. Kian Schaffer-Baker pushes the pile and fights for extra yards, the run game got going a little bit and of course, Sam Emilus’ great play to make defenders miss and get into the endzone. That got the crowd going again and that drive felt like it got Patterson going. The rest of the night, he was okay. Made some good throws, made some very good decisions and most importantly, didn’t turn the ball over. There’s a lot to like about last night’s performance from Patterson, even though there is clearly a lot to still work on. We’ll be fine here in Riderville while Harris is out, especially if he is able to scramble a bit and make things happen with his legs like he did on his TD run.

 

 

Can I say (again) how much I love this run defense? Goodness, these guys are on another level. Riders Historian Rob Vanstone pointed out that this is the first time in team HISTORY that they’ve held their first 4 opponents in a row under 100 yards rushing. Running backs are getting NOTHING against us. Take away Ka’Deem Carey’s longest rush of 15 yards and he finished with 10 carries for 25 yards. UN.REAL.

And how about that front 7 on the defense in general? Micah Johnson and Anthony Lanier II were absolute beasts this game, getting consistent pressure on Cameron Dukes all night long, forcing bad throws and those interceptions. And the linebackers? *chefs kiss* Jameer Thurman is the best offseason signing the Riders have had, he’s such a big time playmaker and is around EVERY big play. And once again, I have to talk a bit about the C.J.’s, Avery and Reavis. Best LB group in the league and it’s not even close. It’s almost not fair how great these guys have been so far this season.

 

Let’s stop kicking the ball to Janarion Grant here at Mosaic Stadium. Dude has his best returns here and I don’t like it.

 

Hat tip to the referee on Toronto’s missed field goal. Mario Alford used that screen to his advantage and he had a convoy in front of him if he sheds that one tackle. Add in the kickoff to start the 2nd half and I can just feel that Alford is going to break off a long TD very soon.

 

It was great to see Rider alumni Marcus “Chunky” Adams at halftime! And how cool was it that Mark Guy was at the game?! 

 

1989 Grey Cup Champion Mark Guy – photo courtesy Rob Vanstone

 

CFL on TSN’s Paul LaPolice talked about the Riders ball hawking defense on The Piffles Podcast this week and boy did they do it again. The 4 interceptions, nearly 3 or 4 more. What a job Corey Mace and Joshua Bell have done with these DBs! I take back everything about Marcus Sayles from his first game in green and white. He’s been fantastic since then and even though his interception was an easy one, he made it count with the game winning score! These guys are FLYING out there!

 

Props to Nelson Lokombo for his TD saving tackle late in the 4th with the Riders up 10. If he doesn’t wrap up the receiver, the ending of the game could have been different. There were a few times when the defense missed tackles, but again, they did a pretty good job of wrapping up and not letting Argos players slip by them.

 

And finally, a big fist pump for Mitch Picton for his CLUTCH catches on 2nd down to kill the clock on the Riders’ final drive! While 30 yards won’t light anyone up, the ones he got at the end were IMPORTANT yards to ice the game. Good teams need and have guys like that.

 

4 and 0, baby!! Overall, I love where this team is headed. Head Coach Corey Mace has something special here. It’s weird to say, but I’m getting 2007 type vibes with this team. There’s a lot to like right now here in Riderville!

 

Alex’s Star of the Game: I have to go with LB Jameer Thurman. He was all over the place and has been crucial in the team’s perfect start so far this year!

 

What’s next: The Riders now get a few days off and get some good rest ahead of next Saturday’s trip to BC to play the Lions in a big West showdown.

 

Be sure to tune into this week’s show when we recap this game and look ahead to the game in BC. Subscribe today wherever you download your podcasts, on YouTube or catch the show on SaskTel Max TV on Demand!

 

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