Saturday's 30-25 Roughriders home loss to Ottawa was something everyone was expecting over the past eight weeks. The media, Rider Nation and the rest of the CFL were wondering what would happen when the best defence in the league wasn’t able to bail out an offence that has had its troubles almost all season long.
Despite the woes on both the offence and defence, the Saskatchewan Roughriders special teams almost bailed them out…again. But this time, it wasn’t enough as Trevor Harris and the Ottawa Redblacks swept the season series. Don’t let the scoreboard fool you. This game was never in doubt after the Rider offence sucked the life out of Mosaic Stadium in the first quarter.
The Roughrider defence has been incredible all season. Heading into the week, they were in the top two in the CFL in forced turnovers (31), interceptions (13), turnover ratio (+10) and were number one in points off turnovers (106).
In this game, they couldn’t generate a single turnover or a single sack and were on the field a lot, especially in the first half. For the first time this season the stout Rider defence also let up the lethal trio of a 100-yard rusher (William Powell with 148), a 100-yard receiver (Diontae Spencer with 110) and a 300-yard passer (Trevor Harris with 334 yards).
The Redblacks offence presents one of the rare matchup problems for the Rider defence. They boast the combination of a solid offensive line (which has struggled a bit in the past few weeks), a slick mobile quarterback that can stretch a play, and smart receivers that find the soft spots in the secondary and are able to help out Harris when he is in scramble mode.
It has been the Ottawa offence that has carried them to a 3-1 record over the past four regular season games. The Riders were able to take advantage of a beat-up lineup in the East Division semi-final in 2017.
This put a tremendous amount of pressure on an offence that wasn’t able to execute. Collaros missed the target on many occasions and when he did, receivers suffered a bad case of the dropsies.
In the end, it was a miserable 10/27, 162-yard and 2-interception night for the veteran Rider quarterback.
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When the offence did click, it was bolstered by a solid running game led by Tre Mason and two plays that stretched the field (Shaq Evans with a 46-yard reception to set up a field goal and the 34-yard Naaman Roosevelt touchdown late in the game).
It was a frustrating night for both sides of the football, but the game ball goes to Craig Dickenson and his special teams group. Marcus Thigpen taking the opening kickoff for a touchdown lit Mosaic Stadium on fire and Kyran Moore’s second punt return touchdown of the season kept the Green and White in the football game. The only blemish - and it was a biggie - was the Brett Lauther convert miss after the Moore punt return score. If he hit that, the Riders only needed a field goal to tie and it would have been a different looking final drive.
But it’s not complete doom and gloom. It’s just one game and there are many more chances for the Riders to bounce back. They are in the final and most crucial third of the season and have a chance at second place and a potential home playoff date in the West Division semi-final.
It all begins on Saturday afternoon in Toronto against a struggling Argonaut club coming off a bye-week. They have lost three in a row and are desperate for a win to thwart the possibility of the fourth-place team from the West crossing over.
A week later, a date with the struggling Montreal Alouettes who looked down-right atrocious at home in a 32-14 loss to the B.C. Lions on Friday.
Now that there is a lot of game film on Antonio Pipkin, teams are able to handle the skillset he presents and after a four-interception night, the Riders may just see Johnny Manziel in two weeks.
The rest of the CFL:
- In the other game Calgary has all but sealed first in the West with a 43-28 victory over the Hamilton Ti-Cats in the goofiest game of the week. Hamilton scored touchdowns on a kickoff return, interception return for the score, and a scoop-and-score on a fumble recovery.
Calgary on the other hand had a 99-yard pass and run for a score along with a punt return for a touchdown.
The key play was when June Jones didn’t go for the touchdown on third-and-goal from the Calgary six midway through the fourth quarter trailing by 12. He kicked the six-yard field goal.
The Stampeders sealed it with a lethal 12-play 75-yard drive that ate up six minutes. With the offence and defence now in a groove, Calgary is the team to beat yet again in the CFL.
The Regina Rams (2-1) lost five fumbles, two of them inside the UBC five-yard-line but were able to escape Mosaic Stadium with a 19-17 victory over the UBC Thunderbirds (1-2).
The Thunderbirds looked like they escaped with a victory when Aldo Galvan missed a 40-yard field goal, but a pair of unnecessary roughness penalties set the Rams back up at the 10-yard line and Galvan was able to punch it through for the victory.
It was Brian Towriss night at Griffiths Stadium on Friday night, but Canada West’s top team spoiled the party. The Calgary Dinos had a 31-16 lead after three quarters and cruised to the 37-28 victory over the Saskatchewan Huskies.
Adam Sinagra threw for a whopping 569 yards and three touchdowns for the Dinos: Jalen Philpot (135-yards) and Hunter Karl (131-yards) being his favourite targets.
Colten Klassen was solid for the Huskies with 134-yards receiving and two touchdowns.
The Huskie loss sets up a beauty Friday night when the Regina Rams come to town for a battle for second in the Canada West.
The final game of the weekend saw the Manitoba Bisons (1-2) win their first of the season knocking off the Alberta Golden Bears (0-3) 37-21. Manitoba was trailing 21-18 midway through the fourth quarter when Des Catillier was able to hit Dillon Schrot on a pair of long touchdown passes to seal the victory.
Week four schedule:
Friday, September 21
Regina at Saskatchewan (Griffiths Stadium) 7:00pm
Manitoba at Alberta (Foote Field) 7:00pm
Saturday, September 22
Calgary at UBC (Thunderbird Stadium) 5:00pm
This week in the PFC:
It’s only week three, but the Saskatoon Hilltops (4-0) are already well on their way to another Canadian Bowl championship. They went on the road and clobbered the Calgary Dinos (0-4) 79-7. The ‘Toppers have outscored their opponents 217-35 this season. Calgary on the other hand, have been outscored 252-8 in 2018.
The Winnipeg Rifles climbed into a tie for third with the Regina Thunder with a 29-10 victory on the road in Edmonton over the Wildcats.
Teams are now finished with their bye-weeks and the showcase matchup is the battle of Saskatchewan. The Thunder make their way up north to face the Hilltops. Regina was the last team to hand Saskatoon a regular season loss. That came on September 9, 2017 at SMF Field when the Thunder escaped with the 29-26 victory.
Saturday, September 22
Regina Thunder at Saskatoon Hilltops (SMF Field) 7:00pm
Calgary Colts at Edmonton Wildcats (Clarke Stadium) 7:00pm
Sunday, September 23
Winnipeg Rifles at Edmonton Huskies (Clarke Stadium) 1:00pm
Offensive Line – Kansas
High School – Kent Prep HS
After sitting out 2017 as a medical redshirt, Alex Fontana returned to the Kansas Jayhawk offensive line in 2018. He started the season at center in a loss over Nicholls State and has seen time along the offensive line in back-to-back wins over Central Michigan and Rutgers.
Fontana is currently ranked #9 in the CFL's Scouting Bureau rankings for 2019.
Sunday in the NFL:
- Minnesota Vikings kicker Daniel Carlson missed three field goals, including a potential game winning kick from 35-yards at the end of overtime in a 29-29 tie with the Green Bay Packers.
- New Orleans scored 18-fourth quarter points to storm back and knock off the Cleveland Browns 21-18.
- The Los Angeles Chargers scored 28 points in the first half and it was gravy from there in Buffalo with the 31-20 victory. Philip Rivers threw just four incomplete passes and three for touchdowns. Things are so bad in Buffalo, linebacker Vontae Davis decided to pack it in and retire from football at halftime!
- The Indianapolis Colts defence led the way in their 21-9 road win over the Washington Redskins. The Colts picked up three sacks and nine tackles-for-loss in the victory.
- The Miami Dolphins are 2-0 picking up the 20-12 win over the New York Jets. Rookie quarterback Sam Darnald was sacked three times and threw a pair of interceptions in the loss.
- 35-year-old journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick may have permanently kept the suspended Jameis Winston on the sidelines. Fitzpatrick had a second 400-yard passing game to begin the season leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the 27-21 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
- The Atlanta Falcons were able to hold off a furious fourth quarter Carolina Panther comeback to pick up the 31-24 victory.
- The battered Tennessee Titans sacked Houston Texan quarterback Dehaun Watson en route to the 20-17 win and rebounded from a week-one loss last week in Miami.
- The Los Angeles Rams are off to an incredible start after a second straight rout to start the season. Their week-two victims were the Arizona Cardinals in a 34-0 shutout. The Rams have outscored their opponents by 54 points in the first two games.
- Jimmy Garapolo and the San Francisco 49ers won in a 30-27 defence-optional game over the Detroit Lions. Matt Breida ran for 138-yards and a score for the ‘Niners in the victory.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars grabbed a little revenge from their AFC Championship loss last season to the New England Patriots rolling to a 31-20 win. Blake Bortles outplayed Tom Brady with 377-yards passing and four touchdowns.
- Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus drilled a late 36-yard field goal in a 20-19 come-from-behind victory over the Oakland Raiders.
- In the late game, the Dallas Cowboys triumphed in a crucial NFC East matchup 20-13 over the New York Giants.
(By: RodPedersen.com Staff)