The good, the bad and the dumb of the Riders 30-16 win over the Argos

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Riders are back in the win column thanks to a 30-16 win over the Toronto Argonauts at Mosaic Stadium.

The win was the Green and White’s fourth of the season.

Here’s the good, the bad, and the dumb of the Roughriders latest victory.

The Good

Overall, it was a pretty solid night for the Riders but there’s a trend that’s starting to emerge. One that seems to have an impact on whether it’ll be a good night for the Riders or not, especially on offence.

It comes down to their Canadian receivers and how involved they are in the offence.

This season, when the likes of Kian Schaffer-Baker, Brayden Lenius and Mitchell Picton make plays, the Riders offence tends to have one of their better nights.

Specifically, it’s starting to feel like Schaffer-Baker is becoming the straw that stirs the drink. The signs have been there for a few weeks now, but I think it’s becoming beyond clear that Schaffer-Baker is currently the Riders best receiver.

The fourth-round selection in the 2020 CFL Draft had himself another big night, and perhaps his breakout game with nine receptions for 99 yards and one touchdown, his first in the CFL — mighty impressive major at that.

When Shaq Evans landed on the six-game injured list, the question was who was going to step up and fill in for the team’s number one receiver? At this point, the answer is Schaffer-Baker.

In total, Canadians accounted for 173 of the Riders 385 yards of net offence.

Coming into this season, the Riders Canadian depth was considered good, at least in terms of quantity. Some questions lingered about the quality, mostly due to many of them having little experience in the CFL, but I think it’s clear at this point that their Canucks are also good.

The Canadian Air Force is primed to take off, yet again.

Also helpful was the continued use of running back William Powell, who rushed for 122 yards. The run game is also good for a young offensive line to get them into games and takes some pressure off Fajardo who came into the game after spending some time in concussion protocol over the last week.

Defensively, defensive tackle Micah Johnson had his best statistical game as a Rider. Johnson recovered a fumble, picked up three tackles and added a sack. Johnson is always a force in the middle of the defensive line, but a game like this has been missing from his resume in Saskatchewan.

The Bad

It definitely wasn’t a perfect night for the Green and White.

Most notably, they had their struggles defensively, especially in the secondary.

The last line of defence was let off the hook a few times by some drops on deep passes from Argos quarterback Nick Arbuckle. If the Argos hit on a few more of those, then this is probably an entirely different game.

It was particularly a tough night for defensive back Christian Campbell who seemed to get picked on a number of times and beat a few times. I’ve been a little tough on veteran Ed Gainey at times but it’s clear his presence is missed in the secondary.

A solution will need to be found here.

It also wasn’t a great night again for kicker Brett Lauther who has now missed four field-goal attempts in his last two games. It’s probably not time to panic about Lauther but it’s something to keep an eye on.

The Dumb

Sadly, this wasn’t a particularly dumb game. It certainly had the potential to be early with a few turnovers but it ultimately didn’t materialize.

The game settled into — frankly — a boring rhythm in the second half. Not that the team or fans will care, as a win is a win.

There were some interesting quirks though.

In what feels like a bit of a blast from the not so distant past, running back Kienan LaFrance, linebacker Kevin Francis and offensive lineman Josiah St. John, who gets bonus points with a special teams tackle as an offensive lineman, all made the scoresheet on Friday night.

All three of them originally joined the Rider organization under Chris Jones, then left for another team and eventually returned under the current regime. Almost made you think it was 2016 for a minute.

But then you remembered it is 2021, cause the Riders won.

After the game, Fajardo once again stole the show chatting with local media via Zoom. The franchise QB was asked about the hit he took in the end zone and how he was feeling by 3DownNation’s Brendan McGuire and it produced the answer of the night, perhaps the year.

Fajardo said he was down and in pain because he got hit in the ‘McNuggets’ while adding ‘you always got to protect the McNuggets.’

Now I’m hungry.