AL4: Defence sends Riders to the playoffs, again
Following an impressive win over Calgary, Saskatchewan came into its game against Montreal, looking to claim a playoff spot.
Rider Nation is hoping we can see an upgraded offence can get into rhythm, with old members returning and new pieces being added.
Normally, I like to focus on each quarter individually. However, because of how pointless the first half was, we’ll get the first two quarters out of the way.
Saskatchewan gave the ball right back after the first where QB Matt Shiltz led Montreal to a field goal. The rest of the first quarter was extremely defensive for both teams.
The second quarter didn’t bring much else with the Riders. The green and white was unable to get on the scoreboard until 32 seconds remained in the half — a William Powell touchdown run — followed by a Loucheiz Purifoy interception, making it 7-3 heading into the second half.
The defensive theme would continue with Montreal going three and out in their first possession. Saskatchewan would increase the lead by three more points with a 21 yard field goal from Brett Lauther. Saskatchewan would then force their second turnover of the night with a failed QB sneak from the Als. The following Roughrider drive would only result in another field goal, making it 13-3.
Both teams would trade fruitless drives, as Montreal would make a change at quarterback before the end of the quarter.
Newly acquired Trevor Harris came in for the Als, and this is where Saskatchewan fans thought, “oh, here we go again.”
Too many times has a backup quarterback come in to give any Rider's opponent a bit of momentum.
The first Harris drive would result in a field goal to make the score 13-6 early in the fourth quarter. But, Saskatchewan would answer back — another field goal to add three more points to their lead.
A couple of drives for both teams would result in only a single point for the Als. Montreal eventually made the game much closer with a touchdown drive, capped by Eugene Lewis to make it a two point game.
Montreal had 1:26 remaining as they attempted the onside kick.
(Sounds familiar, right?)
Duke Williams would recover (again, deja vu), and return the kick deep into Montreal territory. This would result in yet another field goal — 52 on the clock.
Montreal would have one last ditch attempt, resulting in no points and a 19-14 win for the Roughriders — along with punching their ticket to the playoffs.
Post Game Thoughts
The Riders defence truly won Saskatchewan a playoff spot with five sacks and three turnovers this past week.
It seems this defence makes plays every single year to keep Rider Nation alive.
The offence is going to have to step up if they want to win out the season, host the West semi-final, and make it to the Grey Cup.
One guy that impressed me as well was Kaare Vedvik, who averaged over 43 yards a punt on eight attempts. Sure, he isn’t Jon Ryan good, but he’s as good as a backup punter can be.
This Friday the Riders head to Edmonton to face the Elks (2-8) for the first time this year at 7:45 p.m., the first of a back-to-back.
LISTEN TO THE LATEST ROUGHRIDER CORNER ON EPISODE 42, WHICH BEGINS AT 29:45
AUTHOR: Avery LeBlanc
Avery LeBlanc is a creator, producer, and host of The Lang & LeBlanc Podcast. Born and raised on a farm near Wakaw, Saskatchewan, Avery is the morning on-air host with FOX FM in Yorkton.