The Riders season-opening losing skid has reached four games after a 27-24 loss to the B.C. Lions on Friday night at Mosaic Stadium.
Unlike the previous three games, the Riders didn’t blow a fourth quarter lead. On this night, they never held the lead at any point in the game.
“We have to be able to play solid football and winning football. There’s a lot of things that are going right for us and there’s a lot of things that are going wrong for us,” said head coach Corey Chamblin.
Outside of a few players, the Riders were never really able to get any traction on either side of the ball. The offence and defence were good enough to keep the team in the game but the big play was missing.
That’s especially true on defence where not an interception, fumble recovery or sack was created for a second game in a row.
Another reoccurring problem for the defence is its inability to make a stop in the red zone. Coming into the night, the Lions were the worst team in the league from the offensive 20-yard line in. On Friday night, the Lions found the end zone three times in the red zone.
“We got to come out with a couple of plays. That’s the big difference right now,” said defensive end John Chick.
The Riders defence now sits last in the league in almost every major category.
There’s no mistake that this is Chamblin’s defence.
“The one thing I can’t do is play. I’m not going into depth of players, because I promised myself I wouldn’t throw them under the bus. I can sit and take all the blame but it’s not all my blame,” he said.
“It’s truly about us. I told them tonight, each man has to look in the mirror and see where they can get better at.”
The Lions passing game wasn’t powerful in this game, but the defence was burned four times by Lions quarterback Travis Lulay running on the option to the tune of 105 yards.
No rest for the doctors
One area where the Riders truly cannot catch a break is injuries.
On Friday night, defensive back Tristan Jackson and receivers Rob Bagg and Seydou Junior Haidara all left with injuries.
Jackson is expected to be out for an unknown amount of time with a sprain, and Haidara is expected to miss some time too. Bagg tweeted after the game that he should be back next week.
With 11 players already on the six-game injured list, the Riders can hardly afford any more losses in the personnel department at this point.
“You hate seeing guys go down,” said receiver Weston Dressler.
“The hard part of it is we have guys going in mid-game with minimal to no practice reps. They’re just thrown into the fire. They’re battling as hard as they can but when you don’t get any practice reps, you don’t have any preparation and you’re behind the eight-ball.”
The bright spot for the Riders was once again their running backs. Jerome Messam and Anthony Allen combined for 142 rushing and a touchdown. Messam added another 75 yards receiving to add to his league leading yards from scrimmage total.
Dressler was the team’s top receiver with 125 yards. Quarterback Kevin Glenn finished the night 24-for-40 with 360 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Linebacker Jack Doughty led the team with six tackles and one forced fumble that the Lions recovered.
The Riders are now off until Wednesday. They host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats next Sunday at Mosaic Stadium.