Riders send message with convincing road win

Well that was something.

The biggest question facing the Saskatchewan Roughriders this week was pretty simple: could they finally do what they’ve done at home on the road? We’ve seen it before. The Riders, coming off a big win at home, follow it up with a stinker on the road. Whatever the team did this week, it worked. The Riders sent a message to the rest of the CFL on Friday evening, they are no longer pushovers and you better be ready to play no matter where the game is being played. They sent that message with a total team effort.

What’s happening right now is the team is transforming into what we expect from a Chris Jones team. That’s an aggressive play making defence. Jones’ unit not only followed up win over the B.C. Lions with another win, but another dominating effort on defence. The wealth was spread around this time five turnovers coming from five different sources, including not one but two pick-sixes. When they weren’t busy scoring, the defence was making sure that Mike Reilly, an MOP candidate, didn’t look comfortable all nigh. Reilly was sacked just twice but faced pressure all night.

If that wasn’t enough, the Riders got plenty of help from their special teams with a blocked punt by Willie Jefferson that resulted in a touchdown and a returned miss convert by Duron Carter for another two points.

The offence played its part with contributions from Kevin Glenn, Naaman Roosevelt, Duron Carter and Marshall Cameron, just to name a few.

Now let the fun begin with back-to-back games against the red hot Bombers on the horizon. It’s been a while since these games have meant this much.

Game Thoughts

– I seemingly talk about him every week, but it’s impossible not to. I would watch a feed that exclusively showed Willie Jefferson every time he is on the field. Jefferson’s motor never quits and he’s seemingly involved in just about every big play the defence makes. He’s apparently a beast on special teams too now (though, his block had a lot to do with Natey Adjei turning inside of staying with Jefferson who was running straight at him.) At this point, he’s the heavy favourite for the team’s DMOP.

– Offensively, Naaman Roosevelt is that guy worth watching. He made both spectacular and tough catches against Edmonton. When Roosevelt is in that zone, he’s tough to stop. We saw that on Friday night and so did Glenn as he kept going to that well.

– You know it’s your night when Glenn gift wraps one and it’s dropped. He got away with it and made the most of it with a touchdown on the next play.

– Offensive Coordinator Stephen McAdoo still has a knack for making some odd quarterback decisions. Throwing Vernon Adams out in the middle of a promising drive proved to be less costly than doing so with Brandon Bridge in Montreal. Just because it worked with Jordan Lynch doesn’t mean it will always work.

– Some people wondered why Chris Jones didn’t challenge a play in the third quarter when Glenn took a hand to the head. Was it a penalty? Probably. However, the reward wasn’t worth the challenge at that point, if coaches still had a second challenge, then Jones probably throws the flag. It just looks worse with the blocked kick on the following play.

– Trent who? Cameron Marshall continues to be one of the Riders best options on offence. Whenever he’s involved, either on the ground, through the air or both. The team generally has a good night.  Marshall had another 100+ yards of combined offence and a touchdown. Why they were ever looking at Richardson, I don’t know.

– The only real blemish on this game for the Riders was Nic Demski botching a punt that eventually ended up in an Eskimos touchdown. Luckily for Demski the game was basically already over. However, with Christion Jones injured, it doesn’t help his chances of getting another shot.