Objects in mirror are no longer closer than they appear for the Saskatchewan Roughriders following a 45-18 beat down of the B.C. Lions.
The Riders win over the Lions, their second in a row, was big for a few reasons. First, they have a little more mojo after winning back-to-back games for the first time this season. They’ve also essentially left B.C. in the dust in the playoff race with effectively a three-game lead over the Leos thanks to clinching the season series.
Yes, the Riders have only beaten the hands down worst two teams in the league, but they’ve done it in pretty convincing fashion and you can only beat who’s in front of you. While we don’t know just how good they really are just yet, we do know that they should be in a battle for a playoff spot of some kind.
Here’s some thoughts on the game.
Last week, the Riders won with big plays down field on offence. This week, they took the exact opposite approach and ran the Lions will into to the ground with every run from William Powell.
— CFL on TSN (@CFLonTSN) July 28, 2019
Much has been made of the Lions offensive line and rightfully so, but their defensive line isn’t really much better.
Powell gashed the Lions defence for 146 yards and three touchdowns (a career high). He has been good since coming to Saskatchewan but this was definitely his coming out party. Whenever Powell is going to average seven yards per carry, that’s bad news for the opponent as it put offensive coordinator Stephen McAdoo in his ball possession offence happy place (more on that in a bit).
For the second straight week, Fajardo rushed for over 40 yards himself. He took one hit he shouldn’t have but deserves a lot of credit for recognizing that in his interview on TSN at half-time and quickly correcting that mistake.
So, we’re cool?
One of the biggest concerns Rider fans and pundits had coming into this season was McAdoo.
His offence stunk up the joint last year.
This year? The Calgary game not included, they’ve done their job. It’s clear that McAdoo has trust in Fajardo, trust that was probably earned in that first pre-season game where he made just about every throw McAdoo asked him to in a short appearance.
He recognized early that Powell was going and the Lions had no answer for the run. They kept with it but still mixed in a few shots as well.
— CFL on TSN (@CFLonTSN) July 27, 2019
The Riders last real drive of the game was simply a work of art.
It’s hard not to like what the offence is doing this year. They get conservative at times, but it’s for a good reason. Their ball possession game is strong but they have the horses to get aggressive when it is time.
It will be interesting to see how this offence evolves over the course of the season.
Who owes who a beer?
Last week, head coach and special teams coordinator Craig Dickenson said he owed some guys a beer for messing up on a fake field goal call.
This week, his special teams were all over the place.
There was the good, a kick return touchdown (never concede safeties, kids) and a fake punt that stood and kept a drive alive with a direct snap to quarterback Bryan Bennett. Overall, the Riders had a few good returns.
— CFL on TSN (@CFLonTSN) July 27, 2019
There was also the bad, as Ryan Lankford burned the Riders for a missed field goal and kick return touchdown.
So, I guess he’s even? Better grab a round just in case. I suggest a nice light, session ale.
In related thoughts, Jon Ryan still needs to work on his directional punting with another rouge that wasn’t even close. He wasn’t happy with himself following that one. To Ryan’s credit, he nailed the next one.
All the scores
The Riders accomplished a rare feat, they hit for the cycle.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have scored a cycle tonight:
– Field Goal
– One-Point Convert
– Two-Point Convert
– Safety #CFL
— CFL Football Operations (@CFLFootballOps) July 28, 2019
There isn’t much else to say about this other than it’s pretty cool and I imagine pretty rare.
B.C. is bad
You have to feel for Lions fans a little, this team is simply a disaster. There’s no other way to describe it.
With a football ops cap in place, it’s hard to know what the answer is. Massive roster overhaul is unlikely to help at this point either.
As an outside observer, it feels like Ed Hervey landed Mike Reilly and then felt forced to rush the process a little bit. Rather than going about it methodically, like Winnipeg, he signed a bunch of players and hoped it would work.
Spoiler alert: it’s not.
Odds and ends
Enough with the country music, it’s pretty clear at this point that Bell Media is using the CFL on TSN as a big ad for their new Pure Country radio network. Some of us like other stuff, you know?
Cory Watson’s signing raised a few eyebrows around here but he’s definitely a fit in this offence and is contributing.
Ottawa probably would like to have Powell and Loucheiz Purifoy, eh?
Good on DeVone Claybrooks for forcing Mike Reilly to sit down once the game was clearly over. I think he’s a good coach in rough spot right now. He’ll figure it out if he’s given the time. Oh, and stop talking about the hat, it literally doesn’t matter.
We’ll see if the Riders learned from their game against Calgary. It’s another quick turn around to Thursday night against a team that played before them. I expect a better effort than we saw last time.