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Riders Winning Streak Ends With an Offensive Performance

Published: Monday, Sep 17th 2018, 2:09pm

By: Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)

The luck of Chris Jones’ green shirt has apparently come to an end, as the Riders fell 30-25 to the Ottawa REDBLACKS on Saturday night at Mosaic Stadium.

After relying on them all season long, it was only a matter of time before the defense had a letdown game and would need the offense to bail them out for once. Unfortunately, the offense was not up to the task and the REDBLACKS walked out of Regina with a sweep of the season series.

Let’s look at what happened.

Offensive Offense

There is really no other way to describe the performance from the Riders offense on Saturday night. While it was a “Lights Out” game, it would have been far better for the fans if the lights would have been out when the offense was on the field. Might have saved us the trouble of watching another putrid performance. The Riders finished the game with 240 total yards off offense… Which is roughly what Trevor Harris had for passing yards at half time. We keep thinking sooner or later this offense has to get on a roll but we are not 12 games into the season and they still aren’t there. We can’t keep relying on our defense and special teams to put the ball in the end zone for us (Current TD score is 15-12 in favour of the offence).

Shaq Evans

That was certainly not this young man’s best performance. It seemed like anything thrown his way was bound to end up either in Ottawa’s hands or on the turf. Evans has had a history of dropping passes this season, but for the first time all year I would have had more faith in Shaquille O’Neal hitting a free throw than Evans making a catch. Hope to see a bounce back performance from Evans in Toronto, otherwise it might be time to see who’s next on the practice roster.

Special Teams are Special Again

What a performance from the Riders special teams unit. For the first time since 2003, the Riders scored 2 return touchdowns in the same game. Things looked great 13 seconds into the game after Marcus Thigpen returned the opening kickoff to the house on Saturday night. They looked good again when Kyran Moore returned his second punt return touchdown of the season in the 3rd quarter to bring the Riders back to within 2 points. It was everything in between that was a little difficult to watch.

**Interesting stat – The opening kickoff has only been returned for a touchdown 7 times since 1936. Marcus Thigpen has 2 of those 7**

Can’t Defend That Defensive Performance

There is no arguing that the Riders defense is the main reason the team sits tied for 2nd in the Western Division after 12 games. They have kept us in many games when then offense hasn’t shown up to play. Everyone knew they were due for a letdown game sooner or later, and Saturday was that game. Missed tackles and poor coverage led to several Ottawa touchdowns, including the 69 yard run from William Powell that ended up being the game winner. This game was certainly not Ed Gainey’s best performance, but there is no doubt that the defense will bounce back this weekend against Duron Carter and the Toronto Argonauts.

One of our keys to the game was to get pressure on Trevor Harris. That never happened. All game long, Harris was able to sit back in the pocket and patiently wait for someone to get open (he often didn’t have to wait long). The good news for Ottawa’s staff – they won’t even need to clean Harris’ jersey before next game as I’m fairly certain it never saw the turf.

Good Old Al Bradbury

Everyone knows my feelings on Al Bradbury. I have never attempted to hide my anguish whenever we hear the fateful announcement that Bradbury will be the head referee in a game. Saturday night was no different. I was quick to tweet out my dissatisfaction with the announcement, and yet again I was proven right. Missed calls were a highlight of Saturday Night’s performance with several of them being of the “game-changing” variety. Blatant block in the back on Kyran Moore’s punt return. Missed no yards on a Rider return. That “roughing the passer” against Ottawa on the Riders scoring drive in the 4th quarter. Hell, he even called illegal contact on Jovon Johnson… who was the Riders healthy scratch last game.

I’ll never accuse Al Bradbury of hating on any particular team. He’s just inconsistent across the board. I pray to the football Gods that we do not see Bradbury reffing in the playoffs come November.



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