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Riders Serve Up Eviction Notice

Published: Sunday, Aug 27th 2017, 1:08am

By: Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)

Over the past week, we have seen the Edmonton Eskimos reach out to their fans in an attempt to make sure their battle versus Saskatchewan Roughriders came with true home field advantage. Even Mike Reilly got in on it with the following quote:

“I don’t care how many people show up, this is our damn house”….

Well Mike… It appears the Roughriders showed up with an eviction notice, as they walked out of Commonwealth with a 54-31 win over the Edmonton Eskimos. With their win, they have jumped right in to the heat of the playoff race, sitting only 1 game back of BC with 2 games in hand (after BC lost to Ottawa earlier today).

Let’s talk about what we saw in Edmonton that vaulted the team to such a decisive victory.

  • Nick James. We said it last week, and we’ll say it again. He is the difference in that defensive line. We are getting pressure with 3 and 4 man rushes. That push is crucial to making things happen along the line. That push and pressure is helping our defensive backs make the plays they have been making of late. It’s crazy how much better they play when they don’t have to cover a guy for exceptionally long periods of time.
  • Willie Jefferson. Is there anything that guy can’t do? Great play on the blocked punt/scoop and score. He’s been our best player along the defensive line all year, and that hasn’t changed.
  • Duron Carter. That convert return was an absolute momentum crusher. Great awareness on that play. Now if only he could learn to tackle when they throw him in at defensive back…
  • Ed Gainey. Could have had 2 or 3 more interceptions last night. He is an absolute ball hawk right now.
  • Naaman Roosevelt is as clutch as it gets. He can’t stop making plays. That touchdown catch was a thing of beauty, but so were the several catches he had to make in traffic. He took some licks to make plays.
  • Our defensive backfield. Jovon Johnson and Kacy Rodgers with pick 6’s on back to back drives was the dagger to the Eskimos heart. For a team that only had 1 interceptions all season 2 games ago, they have turned it around. The past two games have actually vaulted the Roughriders to 1st overall in the giveaway/takeaway department.
  • Cameron Marshall. After a week that couldn’t have been easy for our lead back, with the Trent Richardson news, Cameron Marshall just went out and ran hard. 44 yards on only 7 carries, but great in protection.
  • Our offensive line. What a difference a few weeks makes. With Dan Clark going down to injury, the Riders moved to a 3 import offensive line, and that gamble has paid dividends. Kevin Glenn is getting a lot more time and holes are being opened for our running game. I was skeptical when we moved to 3 imports because it is keeping Caleb Holley on the sidelines, but if they continue to make plays, consider me a fan.
  • Chris Jones. While I’m not a fan of the switch at QB in the red zone early on, I really don’t have a lot to complain about from his coaching decisions of late. Overall we are starting to see the Chris Jones defence we have been waiting for.

In the end, this was a game the Riders needed to show they could compete on the road in the Western Division, and they did just that. We are actually sitting at .500 after an 0-2 start that had some start to lose hope. Now, a win on Labour Day would have the Riders actually sitting in a playoff spot since 2014.

Check out our next episode of Piffles Podcast, released on Wednesday, where we will break down this game more, and preview the upcoming Labour Day battle versus the 7-2 Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

 

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