The Morning After – Riders Enter Bye on a High
Published: Sunday, Jun 25th 2023, 10:06am
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
Well… that game was something last night, wasn’t it? Good teams find a way to win games and that happened with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Here’s some thoughts The Morning After as the Riders moved to 2-1 on the season after their 29-26 double overtime win against the Calgary Stampeders:
I have to start with the first quarter, which was all sorts of dumb, confusing and had the majority of Canadian football fans wondering what the hell was happening? Between the Stamps failing to fall on a Trevor Harris fumble allowing the Riders to get a first down and subsequently a game tying field goal and the Amari Henderson fumble recovery with a swat on a kickoff which was overturned, it was a wild start to the game. Thankfully, there was only a little bit of crazy after that!
The Riders just can’t catch a break when it comes to injuries. First, Nelson Lokombo gets hurt (he was already filling in for the injured Jayden Dalke), forcing CJ Reavis to play Safety , then disaster on the O-Line when (new) starting Left Tackle Jerald Hawkins had to leave on the cart after getting rolled up on. What went from being disaster in 2022 to having some pretty good options to start 2023 is now a disaster again. The Riders depth is being tested big time so far this season. The first bye week couldn’t come at a better time, but if these injuries keep going at this rate, I’ll be getting a call to suit up soon. Yikes.
Time for the Riders to find a new placekicker, or at least bring in some competition. I know 50+ yard field goals aren’t exactly automatic in the CFL, but Brett Lauther has missed too many kicks this season so far, including another extra point as well. Something’s not right with him and it’s going to cost the team games and nearly did last night.
Would it kill the Riders to get a pass rush and get to the QB? That’s two straight games with pretty much NOTHING in terms of pressure from the front four.
I love how much Trevor Harris is able to spread the ball around. This team is lacking a TRUE #1 receiver at the moment, but it also makes you have to cover everyone and you see guys like Tevin Jones sneak through for long TDs. I think Jones can be the main focal point here in Saskatchewan, but they have some really good receivers to make it easier on Trevor Harris.
I was asking myself where was Riders Linebacker Larry Dean at, since we haven’t seen him stand out so far this season… then he gets a MASSIVE INT in the endzone to preserve the Riders lead.
I was EXCITED when the Riders signed Shawn Bane Jr. I’m even more excited about him now after the last few weeks. He has been spectacular in turning short gains into big, BIG plays. He’s an impact player and is going to be vital to the team’s success. Plenty of Rider fans on forums were calling for him to get cut in Training Camp… I wonder how they’re feeling right now?
What a solid drive by the Riders after the Stamps made it a 3 point game late in the game. A quick 2 and out and I would have assumed the Stamps would find a way to take the lead. Instead, we saw some great running from Jamal Morrow (speaking of Jamal Morrow, just keep feeding him, what an effort last night!), a GREAT 2nd down catch from Sam Emilus and the Riders were able to kill a few minutes off the clock and pin the Stamps deep, after failing to convert on a long 3rd and 1.
Now about that play call to go for it on 3rd and 1 and not kick the field goal… I like the idea to go for it, but give it to Morrow. It was pretty much 2 yards they needed, the sneak was just too risky. Craig Dickenson is showing a ton of aggressiveness this season and I’m here for it… just a poor play call.
After getting burned for a TD, dropping 2 should be interceptions, Nic Marshall made up for it when it mattered the most, getting an INT in the endzone to close out the Riders win in overtime. What a time for him to make that big play he is known for making!
This is a good Saskatchewan team, they are clearly in the tier behind BC and Winnipeg and they showed a lot of character in last night’s win. Yes, a lot of things to clean up, but at the end of the day, they don’t ask how… just how many. You should be happy with this win, Rider fans!
The Riders now head into the bye and they need it. Hopefully everyone rests up, gets healthy and GM Jeremy O’Day works his phone hard to get some more depth back in Riderville.
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