They did it, they finally did it.
After four tries, the Saskatchewan Roughriders finally have their first win over the Calgary Stampeders in the Jeremy O’Day-Craig Dickenson-Cody Fajardo era and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Coming off a bye week and two straight losses to the Stamps, things were going sideways in a hurry in Saskatchewan.
The green and white needed a win in the worst way, not only for their chances of hosting the West Division Semi-Final but even just for their general psyche heading into their final four games of the regular season.
It was far from pretty, but they got the job done. At the end of the day, that’s all the team and the fans will care about.
Here’s the good, the bad, and the dumb of the Riders’ sixth win of the season.
Overall, I still don’t think the Riders played all that well, but they did enough to win the game.
The big moment in this game came early in the fourth quarter when Dickenson had a decision to make.
After Bo Levi Mitchell’s third interception of the night, the Riders found themselves on the three-yard line on third down not too long after. This was the time for Dickenson to decide if he was going to play to win or not to lose.
TSN’s Glen Suitor seemed to believe that Calgary had done its job and forced the field goal attempt on the second down stop. Instead, Dickenson made the right decision and decided to put the pedal to the metal and go for the touchdown and the 10-point lead.
Suitor called the decision “gutsy” but it was anything but.
Given the Riders’ lack of points off turnovers to that point in the game and their field position, going for it was a no-brainer. At the very least, Calgary would have had tough field position when they had basically done next to nothing in the second half. At best, you score a touchdown and take control of the game.
Dickenson was rewarded for doing the right thing and it helped lead his team to victory.
Defensively, it was a strong night for the unit. It’s hard to say much of anything bad when you keep your opponent off the scoresheet from the final three minutes of the first half until the final minute of the game.
They were also rewarded for their strong play with three turnovers. All of which were created by players who aren’t the biggest names on defence, which is always a positive.
Play like this is going to lead to more wins than not.
This was not a good football game, pretty much a trend for much of the season and this “super” Saturday.
The Riders’ offence got a little better as the night went on but it’s safe to say there’s still a long way to go.
Fajardo threw for just 222 yards, which is barely more than Alouettes running back William Stanback ran for in Week 12 against the Toronto Argonauts. Kyran Moore led the team with 63 yards receiving and William Powell rushed for just 43 yards.
Completely uninspiring numbers that won’t win you many football games.
It’s going to be hard to fix at this point as the biggest problem is the offensive line and that isn’t an easy fix in season, but they’ll have to find a way.
This game got interesting at the end but it really shouldn’t have.
With the Riders seemingly in control up 10 with two minutes to go and in possession of the ball, things got dumb.
The Riders were called for a time count violation with 2:23 to go in the game. So, that was a loss of down, leading to a punt that gave the Stampeders life. They would ultimately go down and score a touchdown pretty quickly, leading to a nerve-wracking onside kick.
Much has been made about Dickenson’s use of timeouts, especially at the end of the first half, but that one is as much on the coaching staff as it is Fajardo for not being aware.
There’s no question that one of Fajardo’s weaknesses sometimes is clock awareness. It’s something he needs to be better at, but that’s a moment the coaching staff has to step in and call the timeout, one Dickenson still had and used right before the onside kick, to avoid the loss of down. It might have saved them a lot of trouble.
As much as I appreciate the moment giving me something to write about here, it should have been avoided.