It was not a pretty sight for Roughriders fans who saw Saturday’s game through to the end.
Darian Durant threw four interceptions and no touchdowns and was pulled midway through the fourth quarter in the Roughriders 53-7 loss to the Tigercats.
“I was able to see everything, just made some bonehead decisions out there that are uncharacteristic of me – just trying to force some things,” Durant said after the game.
The offence struggled throughout the night and was unable to capitalize on the opportunities they had to score.
Durant said at times they just weren’t on the same page and going forward they have to figure it out.
“That’s what it’s about, just making sure everyone is in the right spot. We didn’t have that tonight, and therefore the turnovers happened.”
Before Saturday, Durant hadn’t thrown a single interception in the 2016 season. Earlier in the week, he said he took pride in his ability to be able to protect the football.
“As you get older you learn to take care of the ball and not put your team in tough situations.”
But there is some luck involved, he admitted Saturday.
“If you look at some of the throws earlier in the season, some of those could have easily been picked off … Everything was going my way, but tonight (Hamilton) didn’t drop it. They made the plays and I just (have) to get better.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Roughriders also wasn’t able to create turnovers, missing chances to pick off Zach Collaros early in the game when he was looking a little shaky.
“We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities when they presented themselves,” head coach Chris Jones said. “Then we shot ourselves in the foot offensively and defensively with a couple of penalties.”
Collaros went on to throw 381 yards and five touchdowns.
“We just got behind the eight ball early and couldn’t rebound from it,” Jones said.
The Riders overhauled the roster in the off-season, letting go of veteran players like John Chick and Weston Dressler in favour of younger ones, most of whom were CFL rookies.
Jones was asked if he felt like he still had the right group of guys in the locker room and he said emphatically he does.
“We don’t ever point at personnel, that’s a loser’s mentality,” he said curtly.
But Durant said for him it was a bit of an adjustment to learn all new receivers.
“It’s not easy, especially for me. The receivers I’ve had in the past I’ve played with for eight, nine years. It’s not easy, but at the same time it’s part of football and it’s what’s thrown my way and my team’s way and we’ve got to be able to adjust.”
He added it wasn’t happening as fast as he’d like.
As for where the team will go from here, Jones said he’s not quitting or giving up on his young team.
“People can write whatever they want, people can say whatever they want but I know the hearts of those guys in the room and we’ve got a lot of young kids and we’re going to keep grinding with them … we’re going to get that thing turned.”
The Riders are now 1-7 on the season.
- John Chick was able to reach Darian Durant twice during the game and also got a forced fumble. “He’s a great player,” Durant said after the game. “I saw it first hand for years and years and years so I expected nothing less from him.”
- Tyler Crapigna was responsible for six of the Roughriders seven points Saturday. He was good from 43 and 24 yards out.
- If there was a bright spot for the Riders tonight Caleb Holley showed flashes of brilliance and was the Riders top receiver at 80 yards.
- Terrence Toliver topped the list for the Tigercats with 139 yards and a touchdown. Chad Owens scored two touchdowns, while former Roughrider Andy Fantuz, Luke Tasker and Brandon Banks all added to the tally.
- Jeff Knox Jr. got the Roughriders only quarterback sack.