“Oh no, we suck again!”
That’s about all there is to say about the Saskatchewan Roughriders right now. Coming into a Friday night matchup against the B.C. Lions, there was some hope that perhaps a healthy defensive line would help the Green and White re-find their groove against an excellent Lions team.
Instead, it was more of the same from the Riders, and questions that lingered after an uninspiring win over the Edmonton Elks continued.
Frankly, at this point, there’s no reason to believe this team is anything more than average at best. Perhaps even fodder for an East Division playoff opponent that won’t have to travel for their playoff game.
Here’s the good, the bad, and the dumb of the Riders’ fifth loss of the season.
We’re starting here because there’s nothing good to say about this latest Rider loss.
We all knew the Lions were the better team coming into this game and they were expected to win. You’d hope that Riders would have at least put a fight, though. Instead, things went off the rails quicker than just about any of the team’s games this year, outside of the beat down in Montreal.
The offence was bad, as usual. The offensive line did their thing, Cody Fajardo continues to be broken physically and psychologically, and offensive coordinator Jason Maas forgot about running back Jamal Morrow despite the fact that he was averaging over five yards per carry.
The only difference this week was that Fajardo was removed from the game late in the first half and replaced with Mason Fine (more on that later).
But there’s nothing left to say here. The offence sucks in all regards and to expect anything else at this point is foolish.
What bothered me more than anything was a disappointing decision by head coach Craig Dickenson.
At the mid-way point of the second quarter, the woeful Riders’ offence actually managed to get deep into Lions territory following a great blocked punt by running back Frankie Hickson.
In the past, we’ve seen Dickenson get aggressive and go for it from the five-yard line. He’s actually had some pretty good success with it. The football gods generally seem to smile upon such decisions.
Instead, Dickenson inexplicably kicked a field goal. Not only did the Riders leave potentially four points off the board, but it also handed the Lions 35 yards of field position.
The Lions scored 14 straight points after the decision, effectively putting the game out of reach for the Riders.
If Saskatchewan was going to have any chance of winning this game, they needed seven there. Instead, they gave the Lions all the momentum with a win on defence following the blocked punt.
Where does this team go? I honestly don’t know. It might be too late.
Generally speaking, my job around here is to write and talk about the Saskatchewan Roughriders but I can’t really think of anything good to say here.
If I had to find something, I’d guess it would be that Mason Fine looked more comfortable in the pocket than Cody Fajardo, but I’m not convinced he’s any good.
I know our JC Abbott will have plenty to say about the Lions and what they did in this game but I’ll step onto his turf a little bit.
Nathan Rourke is by far the best story in the CFL as well as its best quarterback.
I’m not writing anything new here. We all know this.
But Rourke is probably the only elite quarterback currently in the CFL, which is a problem. I don’t mean any disrespect Rourke when I say that. He’s great, there should just be more than him in this league right now.
Everything Fajardo can’t do at the moment, Rourke can. He throws one hell of a ball, he moves around and is just remarkable to watch.
Hopefully, he’s OK and won’t miss significant time after suffering an ankle injury. The league can’t afford it at this point.
This game had all of the markings of the Riders pulling out a dumb win they’re known for, but the offence stood in their way.
The Lions committed three turnovers — with the Riders adding in a couple of their own — in the first half, though Saskatchewan turned them into only three points. Two interceptions and a blocked punt are all the making of sickos special, something us chaos lovers are looking for.
This is what the Riders needed to have a chance and they blew it.
The Riders are not the Lions, that’s obvious at this point. Teams in these situations tend to win these kinds of games when dumb stuff happens and they take advantage.
The Lions tried to make it dumb but the Riders didn’t take advantage.