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Inches separate Riders from victory in Edmonton

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While it’s certainly not fair to suggest that an entire football game can be decided in one play, the Riders have fallen to 3-4 on the season thanks to just a few inches in Edmonton.

After drawing the Eskimos offside late in the third quarter, the Riders offensive issues continued to be downright offensive and may have ultimately cost them this game in Edmonton. A few plays later, the Riders found themselves on the Eskimos one. A situation they had their issues with earlier in the game but ultimately did find the endzone. This time, they would have no such luck. Zach Collaros bobbled the snap on the first and had no where to go, David Watford was originally called in before review found he was in fact not in. It was a turnover on downs and the Riders continued to trail 17-14.

A conceded safety and a field goal eventually would give the Riders the lead in the final frame. While those points were important, they don’t inspire as much confidence and change the game like a touchdown does.

Later in the fourth quarter, it was the Eskimos turn to find themselves just one yard from at least six points. Mike Reilly made no mistake even with Riders defensive back Nick Marshall making decent contact. The Eskimos led 26-19.

It was a deficit the Riders weren’t able to overcome.

On this night, it truly was a game of inches.

Game Thoughts

I imagine a lot of people will be talking about the Argos big comeback, shootout win over the Redblacks but I thoroughly enjoyed watching this game in Edmonton. Defence is a part of the game and both teams brought it on Thursday night. This game was a straight forward hardnosed kind of game but there was still some offensive plays sprinkled in. While I get the appeal of 80-plus point football games, give me a game like this every week and I’ll be happy.

Chris Jones once again kept a high powered offence at bay. Heading into the games with Hamilton, they were rolling. Mike Reilly, though he made some plays, really had to earn it in this one. The defensive front seven were in his face all night. The pressure was there for the most part as was containing Reilly. Defence still gets full marks.

Even when Edmonton made plays it’s hard to fault the defence. Most notably Derrell Walker’s touchdown. Reilly was getting hit and Walker made one heck of a play. Sometimes all you can do is tip your cap and that was one of those situations.

Duane Forde made the interesting point that Tre Mason looked like a different running back without three backs on the roster. There is something to be said for less of rotation. We’ll have to see how this plays out over the next few weeks.

Duron Carter definitely seemed rusty on offence. While he made a big catch for a touchdown, something this offence has been missing, he took a couple of offside penalties. I imagine those will get cleaned up as he gets back up to speed with the details of the offence.

I don’t know what that final drive was for the Riders. Why not just take a shot? You probably only have a minuscule chance of winning at that point anyway. Going down swinging is better than whatever that was.

Chris Jones may take some flack for going for it on third and 10 with around two minutes to go. I don’t mind it. Play to win, they just need to execute better. Also, trust your defence to make the necessary plays. The Riders still had a shot to force OT despite the decision.

There’s been some discussion about the receivers on this team besides Carter and Naaman Roosevelt. Jordan Williams-Lambert stepped up and showed that he can contribute at this level. We’ve seen flashes now is the time for him to take the next step.

Can’t help but feel like the Riders chances at a home playoff game are slipping. The league is close but they’ll need to rattle off some wins to get back into it, in that regard.

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About the author

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic. He is also a beer aficionado.

By Joel Gasson

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