An even dozen in the loss column for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and it was the ugliest defeat yet.
The Riders were embarrassed by the Lions 46-20 on Saturday at B.C. Place in Vancouver.
“Obviously, I have to do a better job preparing them for the game,” said interim head coach Bob Dyce.
“It’s my job to have them prepared and ready to play and we didn’t exhibit that tonight.”
Mathematically, the Riders playoff chances are still alive but they would have to do the unimaginable and win every game the rest of the season and get some help along the way.
The Riders came into the game with an opportunity to get themselves into the mix for a playoff spot after the team’s they are chasing, the Alouettes and Blue Bombers both lost this week. Instead the Riders fell flat on their face making the hole they are trying to climb out of even bigger and the players know it.
“I do, I do. But, right now we’re not thinking about that,” said running back Jerome Messam.
“We’re just going to think about Hamilton and focus in on a game plan to beat those guys.”
Everything went wrong in a hurry for the Riders on Saturday. Right out of the gate, Kevin Glenn turned over the football on Riders first two offensive drives of the game. Glenn fumbled which eventually led to a Lions touchdown and then threw an interception not too long after. Luckily for Glenn, that only led to a missed field goal and an 8-0 Lions lead.
Despite the start offensively, the Riders managed to hang around for a while as it was only 11-0 after the opening quarter. Slowly but surely, the wheels started to fall off as the game went on.
“We just didn’t play our game tonight. We had a couple of turnovers. We couldn’t get anything going and when we did we got penalties. It just wasn’t our night,” said quarterback Kevin Glenn.
“That’s what happens sometimes. If you play a game you’d understand. So, sometimes you just get into a situation where things aren’t going your way.”
The wheels officially fell off in the third quarter as the Lions exploded for 20 points, blowing this one wide open.
On the first play from scrimmage to open the new half, Lions rookie quarterback Jonathon Jennings found Emmanuel Arceneaux for an 82-yard catch and score. Later, Lions offensive coordinator George Cortez went into his bag of tricks as receiver Austin Collie threw a touchdown to Jennings to give B.C. a 40-5 lead heading into an academic fourth quarter.
Despite the poor performance, Dyce was quick to name Glenn his starting quarterback for Friday’s game in Hamilton.
“Because we feel that Kevin gives us the best opportunity to win,” he said.
ONE THING WENT RIGHT
The Riders did have one bright spot on Saturday, defensive back Tristan Jackson in the kick-return game.
Jackson finished the night with 185 yards on six returns, giving the Riders good field position every time. Naturally, Jackson was quick to give credit to his blockers.
“Just block man, I got the easy part. Just catch the ball and run,” he said.
Even though Jackson averaged nearly 31 yards per return, the veteran was not happy with his game overall – most notably, his effort on defence.
“I still got to do a lot better playing corner. I gave up a lot of yards on defence. I can’t do that. I’m a better DB than that,” he said.
“The guys here in the locker room look up to me expecting to make those plays and tonight I didn’t.”
Jackson felt that Arceneaux did push off on his 82-yard touchdown play but he knows he still has to be better.
Glenn finished the night 15-for-21 for 185 yards, and two interceptions. Brett Smith mopped up in the fourth quarter going 5-for-8 for 94 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Conversely, Lions pivot Jonathon Jennings ripped apart the Riders defence for 364 yards and four touchdowns.
Ryan Smith was the Riders leading receiver with 80 yards, including a 50-yard grab in the fourth quarter. Arceneaux piled up 137 yards receiving.
Jerome Messam was the team’s leading rusher with 42 yards. Lions running back Andrew Harris re-gained the CFL rushing lead with 100 yards on the ground.
Defensive lineman Andre Monroe led the team defensively with five tackles and one sack.
The Riders will likely return to practice on Tuesday before facing the Ti-Cats Friday night in Hamilton.