The good, the bad and the dumb of the Riders’ 23-10 win over the Redblacks

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Bust out the corn dogs, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are the CFL’s lone undefeated team thanks to a 23-10 deep frying of the Ottawa Redblacks.

The win was the second in a row for the Green and White during the Queen City Ex, which serves up Cody Fajardo’s favourite snack.

It wasn’t the most interesting of games, but ultimately that won’t matter to the team or the fans as the Riders are a perfect 3-0 for the first time since 2013, which was a pretty meaningful year for the franchise.

Here’s the good, the bad, and the dumb from the Riders’ latest win.

The Good

Is the boringness good?

It certainly wasn’t a game that felt like Fajardo threw for 300 yards for the first time this season, but he did and did so without a receiver cracking 70 yards. The emerging Brayden Lenius was the team’s top pass catcher with 67 yards.

Fajardo said it after the game and it’s clear on the field that he’s not afraid to throw to anyone. Four of Fajardo’s receivers had at least 40 yards and another two were approaching 30.

This is especially impressive considering the revolving door the team has dealt with at the receiver position with the loss of Shaq Evans and guys like Paul McRoberts and Kian Schaffer-Baker being inserted into the lineup.

If the Riders can continue to spread the wealth all season, it will only make life more difficult for opposing defensive coordinators and make them a real threat to win the Grey Cup.

Newcomers Garrett Marino and Jonathan Woodard made life miserable for Matt Nichols, racking up four sacks. They’ve combined for eight on the season, which is pretty remarkable considering the season is only three weeks old.

The Bad

Frankly, there isn’t a whole lot to say here. The real bad part is you could say the game wasn’t overly entertaining, but really that’s neither here nor there.

If you wanted to get nitpicky, the Riders had some issues on the ground. Quarterback Cody Fajardo was the Riders’ leading rusher with just 47 yards, while running back William Powell had just 20 yards on 10 carries.

Every game is its own thing, so as a one-off it’s not overly concerning, however, it’s fair to say that Fajardo has been the Riders’ best and most consistent rusher through their first three games. Fajardo was even rushing late in the game to seal it, which is something that probably shouldn’t happen on the regular.

For his sake — and the team’s sake — that will have to change in order for the Riders to finish strong. There’s no need for Fajardo to take more hits than necessary.

Penalties were again an issue for the Riders as they were flagged 9 times for 95 yards. That included two major penalties in one drive that eventually ended in Ottawa’s only touchdown of the game. This game is probably even uglier without those infractions.

The Dumb

Sadly, not a whole lot of dumb stuff happened in this game.

Punter Jon Ryan probably had the most interesting rouge of his career. The Regina native boomed a 55-yard punt that bounced about a yard into the end zone and headed back into the field of play. Eventually, it settled down and rolled across the goal line, and hit the cone. The single wasn’t even bad as it made it a seven-point game at the time.

That was fun.

Offensive coordinator Jason Maas also called a fun fake sneak where Fajardo spun away and passed to receiver Kyran Moore who was one-on-one with open space. If not for Moore having some issue securing the catch, he probably scores.

Another fun call from Maas basically sealed the game. The offence up in the “power I,” which normally signals a run. Instead, Fajardo faked the hand-off and threw to running back Kienan LaFrance. You love to see it.

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