Riderville

At times this week there have been moments of high drama and tension and welcome moments of hilarity for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Whatever the result on Sunday, Thursday will go down as the day the Riders moved a substantial step forward towards repeating as Grey Cup Champions.

Last Sunday the Riders not only used their defense, but they came together as a team to overcome the BC Lions who had their guaranteed win day spoiled by the Riders 20-16.

Let’s get the good news out of the way first. The Riders beat Montreal 16-11 on Saturday to run their record to 5-2 and set up an absolutely crucial three game stretch against western opponents.

The bad news is that the score was 16-11 which has many in Saskatchewan asking, "what is up with those uniforms? Sorry, what is up with that offense"?

Winnipeg Sucks

There I was in my Rasta-hat with attached dreadlocks, wearing my number 12 Rider game worn away jersey Darian Bell (back up 2009), walking into a place that for the Riders has been pure evil... Winnipeg and to a smaller extent, Investors Field.

The odds were against the Riders, especially after receiver Taj Smith got busted in a Quebec strip club which was a violation of his bail conditions. Smith was benched, which meant the Riders offense would take one step back and attempt to find strength in other moving parts.

I borrowed the title from Bill Murray as Carl the grounds keeper in Caddy Shack when he went after the gopher plaguing his course with everything in his arsenal including plastic explosive and hi-powered rifles.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are in Winnipeg Thursday to close out the first third of their schedule with a game that could be crucial to the playoff hopes of both teams. The Riders are coming into this game following an exquisite 38-14 win over the Ottawa Redblacks on a two game winning streak and preparing to hit a meatier portion of their schedule.

It’s pretty rare when the fourth game of a regular season is a must-win, but the relief and fireworks heard and felt around Rider Nation about 11 p.m. Saturday night proved the exception to the rule.

The Riders 37-9 win over the toothless Toronto Argonauts got the Riders back to 500 and two games behind Edmonton and Calgary for first place. It was a win predicated on the running of Will Ford, former Bomber running back, who picked up 113 yards rushing and three touchdowns and a relentless rush from the Riders defensive line sacking Ricky Ray four times.

You really had to wonder Saturday night, what the hell the Saskatchewan Roughriders were doing on the Amazing Race as opposed to being in Mosaic Stadium to face off against the BC Lions.

This is not the defending Grey Cup Champions. In fact, this team will be lucky to sneak into the playoffs on a cross-over because from the coach on down, they don’t seem to know what to do.

The Riders may have a prairie mile of talent at their disposal, but that talent is about an inch deep as the Toronto Argonauts shelled the Riders 48-15 on Saturday.

The Argonauts demonstrated to the Riders where they need to improve, including running back, a bit on the offensive line, and the entire defense which seemed to play as if they had just left a KFC buffet line with greasy fingers unable to make anything resembling a tackle.

As far as opening nights go, it wasn’t all that bad.

The Riders kicked off their 2014 season with a 31-10 thumping of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on a week one that featured a couple of surprising results. Winnipeg kicked off their season with a win over Toronto, which is important because we are facing Toronto on Saturday, and Edmonton beat BC in BC, which may mean the Eskimos may be for real this year.

The Riders finished their 2014 exhibition season with a resoundingly half-assed 19-14 loss to the god less Edmonton Eskimos and made their cuts on fittingly, the longest day of the year.

That’s one game down and 22 games to go for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

That’s what separates the Riders from their unspoken goal of making history and repeating as Grey Cup Champions following Saturday’s 21-17 win over the Ottawa Redblacks.

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