Riders gained badly needed confidence in Canada Day win over awful Argos

By Brendan McGuire

Winning at home against a team that lost by half a hundred one week earlier does not a comeback story make.

But the Saskatchewan Roughriders 32-7 victory on Canada Day was one they just HAD to have.

It was one of the longest games in league history but the nearly five-hour long home opener, delayed by thunder storms, would have felt like THE longest game in league history for Rider nation had their beloved green and white dropped to 0-3.

Not only did that not happen, but out of nowhere Saskatchewan has a new hero.

Cody Fajardo’s 430-yard, two-touchdown passing effort gives the folks of Regina some assurance that the 41-point outburst in Ottawa under his direction inn Week 2 was more than just a fluke.

The aerial assault, led by big connections with Kyran Moore and Shaq Evans, was just what Stephen McAdoo’s offence needed to show to prove they are more than just a “ground n’ pound” attack.

On Canada Day, gaudy passing numbers, naked bootlegs to extend plays and apologies to his receivers picked up by TSN’s live mic’s made Fajardo look everything like the real deal he showed us all he might be in Ottawa during Week 2.

Relentless blitzing from Riders defensive coordinator Jason Shivers rattled Argo quarterbacks James Franklin and McLeod Bethel-Thompson enough for four sacks, including two from Charleston Hughes who keeps proving that at 35 he can still play.

William Powell and the ground game looks strong. Micah Johnson and the defence had its finest hour of the season so far.

On a week some are calling for Argo general manager Jim Popp’s head, Riders GM Jeremy O’Day can rest easy after a big showing from his own free agent pickups.

Nobody should suggest beating the Toronto Argonauts will set the Riders up to plow through the rest of the league. The Argos are a grease fire and early returns suggest their investment of a multi-year contract for James Franklin will likely be written off by season’s end.

The Riders schedule of three straight eastern opponents so far has been a cake walk compared to their next three games against Bo Levi Mitchell (if Bo’s injury isn’t serious) and Mike Reilly.

But on Canada Day, when they finally got to shower their new head coach, Craig Dickenson, with the Gatorade, optimism returned to the prairies.

The drought in the farmers fields has ended with the recent rain and the Riders have one win in the column.

The entire ‘306’ can let out a collective sigh of relief and breathe again.

2019 might not be so bad, after all.

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