For the first time under head coach Corey Chamblin the Saskatchewan Roughriders are on a losing streak to open the season.
The Riders dropped to 0-2 on the year with a 42-40 double overtime loss to the Toronto Argonauts. They held a 10-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“We can’t hang our heads. It’s still early. It’s only week two,” said defensive back Macho Harris.
“When we take a loss or when something bad happens. It’s a minor setback for a major comeback.”
Not only did the Riders blow that 10 point lead, they gave up a game-tieing 85-yard touchdown drive very late in the fourth quarter, moments after they found a way to rebound and re-gain the lead.
“It wasn’t like they led us all the way down to the one. It was a pass interference call that took it to the one. The ball is in the air. We have to be able play it better, that’s a part of it” said head coach Corey Chamblin.
“A couple of mistakes out there that I’m sure and I know the guys will learn from.”
Despite the performance of the defence being in question again, Chamblin chose to remain positive with the media after the game. Presumably he would have delivered the same message to players.
For his part, Chamblin felt the defence did a lot of good things in this game. They were just beat.
In the room, everyone remained on message as well. They think things will still get better.
“We will get it right. I believe in the coaches, I believe in the players. The Saskatchewan way, we’ll get it right,” said Harris.
The positive that could be taken out of this one is the defence did tackle much better than the week before against the Blue Bombers.
The negative? The penalties continued with the Riders being tagged for 131 yards worth of infractions, a number of which weren’t pass interference or illegal contact calls.
Offensive output wasted
Two games into the 2015 season, the Riders have been an exact opposite of the team we saw in 2014.
Last year, it was the defence doing all it could to keep the team in the game as the offence sputtered along. This year, the offence is clicking at a high level.
But, that doesn’t mean the offensive players are blaming the defence.
“You try to go back when it’s a close game in a game like this and you try to say ‘where’s that one play that could have changed the game,’ there’s a couple for me,” said quarterback Kevin Glenn.
The biggest what if for Glenn was the interception he threw in the fourth quarter after a catch of the year candidate from Ryan Smith.
“We were still up. You know me, personally, that’s not like me. It won’t happen again. I guarantee that,” said Glenn.
In all, the Riders threw up 579 yards of total offence. That’s more than a few games combined in 2014. That includes an eye-popping 174 yards from Smith including a 41 and 50 yard catch.
“KG is a great quarterback. But you know, we need to come out next week ready to go. This week it obviously wasn’t enough,” said Smith.
Now, Glenn’s message to the team is to just put this one behind them and move on.
In all, the Riders had seven players with at least 20 yards receiving. Smith, Weston Dressler, Chris Getzlaf and Jerome Messam all had at least 72 yards.
Messam’s big game also included another 84 yards rushing.
Paul McCallum was perfect in his return to Riderville going four-for-four, including a 49-yard field goal with the wind at his back.
Defensive back Tristan Jackson passed Albert Brown for second on the Riders all time kick-off return list.
Linebackers Jake Doughty and Jeff Knox Jr. led the way defensively with seven tackles each. Doughty also picked up an interception.
Harris had two sacks, with Alex Hall and Derek Walker also getting to Argonauts quarterback Trevor Harris.
The Riders will now have an extremely short week as they will practice on Wednesday at Mosaic Stadium before heading to Vancouver for their game against the B.C. Lions on Friday night.