Riders show guts in win over Hamilton

They don’t ask how, just how many and right now the Saskatchewan Roughriders have six wins on the season thanks to a 27-19 win over the Hamilton Ticats.

For the Riders, it would have been easy to fold the tent on Friday night without starting quarterback Kevin Glenn. The veteran quarterback is the leading candidate for the team’s most outstanding player award nominee. A significant drop off on offence wouldn’t have been that surprising. Instead, they got strong performances from some and just enough from others to make sure that they escaped the steel city with another win, and temporarily a playoff spot.

If missing Glenn wasn’t enough, head coach Chris Jones told reporters after the game that his team dealt with nine different injuries throughout the game, including offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte, receiver Duron Carter and safety Mike Edem. None of these injuries were more significant than the one to LaBatte. The Weyburn native has been an integral part of the team’s turn around in recent weeks after moving to centre for the injured Dan Clark. While the offence wasn’t quite the same, they did enough to win.

Before this night, most of the Riders wins came without much stress down the stretch. Against Hamilton, the Riders showed they can also win the tough one and that’s important because they’ll only get tougher from here.

Game Thoughts

– Oh Canada! What a night for quarterback Brandon Bridge. 3DownNation’s Justin Dunk has been pounding the Bridge drum all season and I’ve been right there with him. While the Canuck’s numbers weren’t mind blowing with just 231 yards passing. However, he did throw three touchdowns and no interceptions. That’s all you can ask for from a guy making his second career start. Bridge has proven now he’s a CFLer, whether he’s a full fledged starter, we’ll see. Either way, Bridge is the first Canadian QB to win a game in 32 years, that can’t be taken away from him. I can’t wait for what Dunk and Drew’s conversation on Bridge this week.

– After the game Bridge showed maturity beyond his years. It would have been easy for a 25-year-old to be proud of himself for his performance. While I’m sure Bridge was, he was still thinking about the big picture. Bridge told TSN’s Matthew Scianitti that he wants to pave the way for future Canadian pivots. Bridge added that a Canadian quarterback should count toward the ratio, and he’s right.

– Again, I don’t get throwing in Vernon Adams in a goal situation but apparently changing the QB in that spot once a game is going to be a thing.

– It certainly seemed like the offence backed off in the second half and tried to put the defence in a position to win the game. They held up their end but it didn’t have to be quite so bad. A running game sure would have helped. Not only would it have helped grind the clock but it would have taken some pressure of Bridge. 41 yards rushing just isn’t enough.

– It is somewhat concerning that for the second win in a row, the offence couldn’t get that one extra touchdown that would have effectively ended the game.  The conservative play calling might have been by nature this week but the same thing happened against Winnipeg a couple of weeks ago too.

– Is there any stopping Ed Gainey right now? The defensive back is on a tear we rarely see in professional football while. Gainey now has three multi-pick games this season. Willie Jefferson is still my guy defensively but Gainey is definitely making the defensive vote interesting.

– Did Brandon Banks take a dive in the end zone in the games dying seconds? Perhaps. It happens though (like players going down to stop the other team) and it didn’t end up changing the outcome. I don’t agree with it (like players going down) but it is what it is.

– It would have been nice for Jones to have a challenge for this call. It might have stood anyway but it was certainly worth more of a look than the one he did throw the flag on. That said, I don’t blame Jones for that decision. In the past, we’ve seen Jones make some poor decisions with his challenge flag. While it was highly unlikely that pass interference would have been called on that pass to Naaman Roosevelt, the flag was thrown at a time in the game where it made sense. It’s difficult to anticipate needing that flag in the final five seconds of the game otherwise coaches would never use them.

– I don’t get Jeremiah Masoli. The Ticats might be better under him right now but he’s never come across as a legit starter to me.

– I didn’t hate the call to pass at the goal line by Hamilton. The size of the CFL end zone still gives you a good probability of converting. I might have thrown in some play action. Ultimately though, if Saunders doesn’t slip we aren’t talking about it.