Back to square one: Riders not ready to take the next step

As former NFL head coach Dennis Green famously said, they are who we thought they were. Only this time, no one was let off the hook.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders had a chance on Saturday night to send a message to the CFL that they have taken a step forward as a team. All they had to do was beat the Stampeders…in Calgary…after they had lost the week before. No big deal…

So yes, the odds weren’t exactly in their favour and that’s without taking the green and white’s extended regular season losing streak in Cowtown (now 10 games) and the fact that Calgary hasn’t lost back-to-back games in forever into account. However slight, the chance was still there. Instead of rising to the occasion and even making life difficult for the home team, the Stamps barely broke a sweat in the first half storming out to a 17-0 lead through the first 30 minutes of play. That score actually flattered the Riders as Calgary definitely had chances to add more.

There’s no doubt that the Stampeders were full credit for the win, even if the Riders show up at the start of the game, they probably would have won regardless. However, Saskatchewan made it easy for Dave Dickenson’s team with undisciplined play, busted coverages, letting Jerome Messam run wild and little to no protection of Kevin Glenn. Add it all up, and the Riders never even gave themselves a chance. Against a team like Calgary, mistakes need to be kept to a minimum to have a shot. That did not happen.

At this point, the Riders one win might have more to do with their opponent that night than anything else.

So, for now, the Riders are who we thought they were. It’s up to them to step up to the plate and prove otherwise in the coming weeks.

Game thoughts

– Duron Carter and Josh Bell’s pre-game incident should get some attention from the league. Both guys were in the wrong as far as I’m concerned and should face the consequences. That said, Carter’s hit on Bell during the game, it was borderline but I think Carter might have just been trying to make a play.

– Two challenges on the same play, both annoying and dumb, but that’s the system the CFL has created for itself.

– Congrats to Kevin Glenn for surpassing 50,000 yards for his career. No matter what you may think of Glenn as a QB, that’s an impressive milestone.

– The Riders did show some signs of life in the third quarter. Being the veteran team they are, Calgary was able to regain control and basically run out the clock in the fourth quarter. Even without Messam’s late touchdown, it felt like Calgary had the game on lockdown. The Riders might be onto something if they can play like that more often.

– Willie Jefferson is a treat to watch on defence. The Riders need him to make big plays every week to have a chance.

– The coaching staff might be on to something with Greg Morris as a return man. He should take more reps.

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