I'll go on record as saying that was the best effort from the Riders this year. Yes, they smashed Winnipeg 52-0 earlier this year, but that team was dead man walking in the days following the Paul LaPolice firing. This was a Toronto team at home that had a glorious chance to move two points closer to the Alouettes who were inexplicably beaten by Winnipeg as they took to the field. It was evident right from the first snap of the game that the Riders were the team that wanted it more and it showed in their play from the opening Brandon West kickoff return to the tremendous hustle play by Craig Butler on the ensuing kickoff. This team sent a message and that message was they expect to be back in Toronto in November. There is a long ways to go before that happens though and the team will have to get some much bigger wins and fight much harder than they did on Sunday.
Just some thoughts on the action at Rogers Centre.
--The Riders o-line might have been a disaster last year, but they aren't this year. Ben Heenan continues to show that the right choice was made when selecting first in the draft while Best, Picard, Labatte and Neufeld just continue to make life easy on Darian Durant while opening holes for Kory Sheets.
--The Argo defence is fast and offensive co-ordinator Bob Dyce realized that by not calling many plays for Sheets outside. After the game, Sheets said they knew if they kept hammering away they could break one and they did. That being said, Dyce needs to dumb it down in the red zone and stop trying to get cute. Go north-south and you will be successful.
--Jarious Jackson and that Argos offence was BAD. It wasn't all because of the Rider defense, but a lot of it can be attributed to a group that is playing at its best right now.
--The Rider coaching staff will be upset that they didn't cash red zone opportunities into touchdowns. Had the Riders done that or had Eddie Russ squeezed his hands around the football in the first quarter, the Riders would have put up 50 and maybe 60.
--I didn't know Sandro De Angelis could punt. Did you? Did he ever punt in Calgary or Hamilton?
--Montreal and Toronto are left at home while Edmonton and B.C are left for road games. Is it conceivable to think the Riders could win their next three to set up a first place battle in the final week of the season. All three of those teams are eminently beatable.
--That game was played in Toronto wasn't it. It sounded like a home game.
Did you watch "The 13th Man" documentary. It wasn't as good as what I thought it was going to be, but it did entertain (and hurt) me as the nightmarish ending of the 2009 Grey Cup was re-lived as was the love affair Saskatchewan has with the football team.
Als kicker Damon Duval came off as the villain---especially when he showed off his ring and recited the final score. Right after that, it showed him beaking at Chunky Adams as the winning field goal went through. If I was Chunky, I'd have decked him. What are you going to lose?
It was great that Jamie Nye and Rob Vanstone got a lot of camera time, but don't you think director Larry Weinstein should have spoken to oh I don't know--the long time play by play guy? I found it odd that neither Rod Pedersen or Carm Carteri had a word in the show. I think Rod could have and would have had a thing or two to add to the story.
The sight of Chris Szarka sobbing uncontrollably is simply a haunting image.
--What was worse for baseball? The extremely late infield fly call that killed a potential rally from the Atlanta Braves or the way Braves fans reacted to it. It was embarrassing for both.
--Why is an infield fly being called on a ball that is hit to shallow left field anyhow?
--The Cardinals popped champagne and celebrated. Isn’t that a tad early? They still have to win a few more games to get to and win the World Series.
--I want to see Gainer do this!! Someone please make this happen in Riderville. It would be awesome!!
--My good friend Rob Vanstone brought up a great point on his weekly “Robservations”. How is it that guys like Chris Williams or Chad Owens who are so good in returning the football not on an NFL team returning kicks. Some of the guys on NFL teams returning kicks are too pedestrian.
--Why do US college football teams screw around with their look. I’m not a Notre Dame fan, but their uniform is similar to that of the Habs, Leafs, Yankees…etc. etc. That being said, this is what they trotted out for a helmet Saturday against Miami. Why and what was the objective of this? I hope this helmet goes the way of those putrid lime green unis the Seahawks trotted out that one year.
--I can’t get caught up in the Milos Raonic craze. The Canadian tennis player is obviously good, but he’s got a ways to go before he gets up there into the top 10. When he gets there, I’ll start paying more attention.
--Sportsnet’s Jamie Campbell gets the line of the weekend. In showing highlights of the Cardinals-Nationals game on Sunday, Campbell proudly said after Washington’s Tyler Moore hit a pinch hit two run single that he was a ‘Merry Tyler Moore”. GOLD!!!
--We aren’t seeing the NHL, but we are seeing the future of the NHL on display at the Brandt Centre. Red Deer’s Matt Dumba and Moose Jaw’s Morgan Rielly were here last week and Portland’s Derrick Pouliot and Everett’s (the pride of White City) Ryan Murray will be here this week as both the Winter Hawks and Silvertips pay a visit. Those guys should be the price of admission in itself. I often wonder why the Pats and Warriors for that matter don’t market the stars of other teams –especially the West Conference teams that only come out once a year. Both teams should be letting as many people know as they can that these guys are coming through.
--On any given Sunday as was proven by the Colts, any team can beat anyone in the NFL. This is unless your team is based in Cleveland!
--Kansas City offensive lineman Eric Winston blasted his hometown fans when they cheered an injury to quarterback Matt Cassel after Sunday’s loss to Baltimore. Is that crossing the line somewhat? Would you ever cheer if Darian Durant went down with an injury? Say what you will about the Saskatchewan quarterback, but I think 99.9 of Rider fans are smarter than that. Then again, many of you read this blog so maybe not!! I keed, I keed!!
Have a great week!