The good, the bad, and the dumb of the Riders’ 36-20 win over Hamilton

Photo courtesy: Electric Umbrella/Liam Richards/Saskatchewan Roughriders

Despite threatening skies, nothing could rain on the Riders’ parade as they thoroughly beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 36-20 in their home opener.

After a couple of wild fourth-quarter comebacks to open the season, the Green and White made this one easier on the hearts of Rider Nation by riding a quick start to their most complete win in quite some time.

Even the weather cooperated, as a couple of cracks of lightning weren’t close enough to send this game into delay. By the end, the sun was even shining down on Mosaic Stadium.

Here’s the good, the bad, and the dumb of the Riders’ third win of the season.

The Good

Everything? Is that too simple?

From start to finish, this was easily the most complete game of the season from the Green and White.

From the fumble recovery on the first play of the game to the final whistle, the home team never trailed. And other than a brief period in the second quarter, they never really gave Hamilton much hope either.

Perhaps the most positive sign from the Riders was that they were able to get a pretty quiet running game going.

Their biggest free-agent acquisition, running back A.J. Oulette, easily had his best game in Saskatchewan, rushing for 98 yards and adding another 47 yards through the air to lead the team in both categories. This was what the Riders were hoping to see out of number 45 when they signed him.

The CFL is and will always be a passing league, but you won’t win every game with 400 yards passing. Sometimes you’ll need to rely on a different plan and that’s what the Riders did on Sunday night.

The Bad

On the field, there wasn’t much to complain about from the Riders. They played a pretty clean game when it came to penalties and they got some big plays in all three phases.

The biggest concern for the Riders going forward is now the health of starting quarterback Trevor Harris.

Harris left the game late in the second quarter with a knee injury. It was late enough in the half that Harris left for the locker room but even after the intermission, it was clear that there wasn’t much point in putting number seven back into the game. The Riders have a bye week coming up and had a lead at the half. The bigger picture was more important.

To head coach Corey Mace’s credit, despite Harris testing things out on the sideline and presumably pleading his case to get back under centre, he remained on the sideline for the rest of the game. It’s not about winning in Week 3, it’s about winning in November and Harris needs to be available as the weather gets colder. This was the correct decision.

The good news for Rider fans is that Harris was throwing, but we’ll still have to wait and see just how much this injury affects him going forward. If it lingers, backup pivot Shea Patterson will have to step up and play better, as he didn’t look very comfortable in his first appearance this season.

The Dumb

We can now say that Gainer’s reign of terror is over.

You may remember — or not since the Riders’ last home game was just over a month ago — that some new in-game entertainment was introduced this season at Mosaic Stadium.

One of the better moments from that contest was a game called ‘Ace Rush,’ where fans pick a card for a chance to win a credit to use at the casino in Regina or Moose Jaw.

Well, in the debut game — the house won. Gainer picked up the card with his face on it. The house won.

This time around, Gainer wasn’t so successful as one of the fans playing the game picked the correct card and took home the prize.

Gainer 1, Fans 1.

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