The Saskatchewan Roughriders took care of business in Toronto, officially clinching a playoff spot in the process.
For much of the season, one of the narratives around the Riders has been that they haven’t beaten anyone. Beating Toronto certainly doesn’t do anything to develop that story line further, but by once again beating one of the league’s worst teams handily, we’ve learned something about this team.
As the old saying goes, you can only beat who’s in front of you and the Riders have done a good job of that this season.
Other than perhaps Ottawa in Week 2 — nothing that happens in the first couple of weeks of the season should be taken too seriously — the Riders haven’t suffered a loss to an inferior opponent.
All of their losses have been handed by teams that are at least equal if not better than them. Eventually, they’ll have to win those games in order to take the next step, but as we see every year, losing games to teams you shouldn’t usually ends up having devastating effects.
Losing such games can cost teams a first round bye, a home playoff game or perhaps even a playoff spot altogether. That is especially true this year in the ultra competitive West where you could argue there’s three teams that are good enough to win the division.
This week specifically, they did themselves a huge favour with Winnipeg losing to Hamilton and it was one of their games in hand over Calgary.
By beating the teams they were supposed to the Riders haven’t delivered any fatal wounds to themselves and are headed to the playoffs because of it.
Now, it’s up to them just how good of a shot they’ll get at the mug.
Welcome back Blue
While the Riders offensive line survived the season to date without Brendon LaBatte, it sure was good to see him back on the field.
The Weyburn native instantly made the offensive line better. Cody Fajardo was only sacked once and he got some great protection on some slower developing plays.
If the Riders offensive line is going to get healthy at the right time, that’s very good news for the team.
Spreading the wealth
The Rider offence had been stuck in a bit of a rut before this game. Toronto definitely provided the antidote.
In all, the offence piled up 425 yards of offence and held onto the ball nearly 10 minutes longer than the Argos.
Fajardo didn’t crack the 300-yard mark, but he didn’t need to. He also did a good job getting many different receivers involved. Naaman Roosevelt, Manny Arceneaux and Kyran Moore all had at least 60 yards. It was a particularly impressive game for Moore who had been under the microscope a little bit with the pending return of Jordan Williams-Lambert.
A little confidence heading into a tough stretch to end the season is a good thing.
Odds and ends
– Some extra rest seemed to be good for Charleston Hughes. The defensive end added two more sacks to his league-leading total of 15. Chad Geter, Cameron Judge, Micah Johnson and Charbel Dabire all got into the act too.
– Anyone else get excited over a fullback reception? Albert Awachie picked up just his second reception of the season (and ever) – it was glorious.
– No broadcaster should ever talk about conceding a safety when Jon Ryan is punting. It’s foolish to do it in general, but especially with Ryan’s big leg. It was great to see him nail a coffin corner kick late in the game.
– Toronto should have played Michael O’Connor late in the game. It would have been the only thing worth watching at that point.
– Does Corey Chamblin survive this season? Hard to see it. Have to wonder where his career would have gone had his quarterbacks not been injured or retired.