The good news is it wasn’t all bad.
The Roughriders did lose to the Edmonton Eskimos 33-25, but they did it while scoring three touchdowns.
Darian Durant took the team on his back and rushed in the Roughriders first touchdown since the second quarter of the Calgary game two weeks ago. A sigh of relief was visible from the Roughriders veteran quarterback after he scored.
He added a second rushing touchdown in the third quarter before handing the ball off to Kendial Lawrence for the third major of the game.
In the end Durant threw 27 for 38 and 318 yards.
Durant said the difference between Friday’s game and last week’s loss against the Tigercats was execution.
“We kind of switched up the pace a little bit, went a little no huddle, had a little success with that,” Durant offered after the game. “Everyone was on the same page.”
The team wasn’t on the same page in the first half however. In the first quarter the Eskimos walked all over the Riders. The score was 17-0 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Tyler Crapigna was good from 29 yards out ensuring the Roughriders wouldn’t be shut out.
The Riders came surging back in the third, with Canadian quarterback Brandon Bridge providing a much needed spark for the offence, hitting Naaman Roosevelt with 43 yard pass. The team went on to score 16 points and shut out the Eskimos that quarter, but it was too little too late in the end.
“We got down early, they got us back on our heels,” head coach Chris Jones said post-game. “Mike (Reilly) did a real good job … hitting us with some big plays.”
Those big plays, that included several long passes when the Eskimos quarterback rolled out of the pocket, were difference makers in the end.
“We had some young kids that made some dire mistakes,” Jones said, but added the offence needs to get kick started a little earlier than it did.
“We can’t always be behind the eight ball,” he added. “We’ve got to be able to score some points and put us in a situation where we can win a ball game.”
But linebacker Otha Foster said that the defence also needs to play its part by making big plays when the team needs them.
“We just got to come out with an extra play like one more turnover – that one big play that can change the game around.”
Going forward, Jones certainly hopes that some player continuity will help the team be better on the field. The changes in the depth chart every given week have been dizzying even for the most avid of fan. But there were only six swaps this week – a little more than half as many as each of the previous two games.
“We’ve had a lot of guys in and out of the roster due to multiple reasons and then we’ve got to do a better job of coaching them and we’ve got to play a little more consistent football,” he said.
At one and eight the Roughriders are by far the worst team in the CFL at the halfway point of the season, however, no one on the team seems to be throwing in the towel – the coach included.
When asked at what point he might consider putting in players for future consideration, Jones said emphatically the team was not there yet.
“We’re here to win football games and we’ll worry about all that at a later date,” he said.
The Roughriders next game is a home and home series against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
- Naaman Roosevelt caught 11 receptions for 175 yards and was the Roughriders top receiver by far. Newcomer Caleb Holley was next with 65 yards.
- The Eskimos top receiver was Adarius Bowman with 81 yards as most of the teams yards came from rushing.
- In for the injured Shakir Bell rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown.
- Reilly threw 253 yards earning two touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed for 45 yards.
- The Roughriders are two for two on onside kicks this season after Tyler Crapigna launched one into the waiting arms of Graig Newman.
- The Eskimos defence sacked Durant four times, while the Roughrider offence reached Reilly just once.