Post an I.O.U. to the board of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. And it’s not the first time the offence has had to pay it back to the defensc.
On Saturday night, 14 points was good enough for the Riders to beat the Edmonton Eskimos. It was only the 13th time in the CFL this season a defence has been able to limit an offence to just 14 points.
Quarterback Darian Durant admitted afterwards that they owe one to the defence. But this is becoming common place for the Riders.
The defence does enough to win and hopes the Riders offence can do one better than the opposition.
Over the last six weeks, only twice has the offence been able to hold their end of the bargain and just so happens that has equated to back to back wins. Although it was the first time this season a team has been able to win by posting only 14 points.
A pair of 3rd and ones told the tale of the two poles the Riders are on. The offence at one end of the spectrum, deep in Eskimo territory with Head Coach Corey Chamblin deciding to go for a third down gamble rather than put the team up by eight with less than four minutes on the clock by kicking a field goal. The Eskimos stuff Drew Willy on the one-yard plunge to give Edmonton life.
Fast forward three minutes later and this time at the opposite side of the field with just over one minute left it was the Riders defence stuffing the Eskimos at the one-yard line for the possible game winning score.
Again, while the offence has stumbled the Riders defence has been there to pick them up.
The old adage, ‘Defence wins championships’ is what many are hoping rings true this year in the CFL, because that would give the Riders a great shot.
And it’s true, the best defence can usually win it all, but the Riders offence needs to start finding it’s groove if the Riders are going to do anything substantial come November. It’s very rare a team wins a Grey Cup with just 14 points. In fact the last time that happened was 1975.
Last week’s game versus the B.C. Lions looked as though the Riders offence was coming back to life. But was it an aberration after what we saw from the Riders on Saturday?
12 points in Montreal and 14 points at home in two of three weeks won’t be very appealing to the coaching staff as they close in on a crucial final three weeks with first place in the West Division not yet out of reach.
After the game Durant again spoke of a lack of execution from the offence. The phrase has all been too common place in Saskatchewan over the last month and a half.
If the Riders are going to do damage in the playoffs, their offence needs to start catching the passes that are catchable, earning that one yard on third down when called upon and making that key play at the key time to ensure there is no fourth quarter comeback by a team like the Eskimos, who were down and out for three of the four quarters.
But we wait to see. Was that game in B.C. a flash in the pan? Or are the Riders we saw in the first nine weeks coming back to life?
I will give them this.
There was the chance after an emotional, playoff atmosphere like the game in Vancouver last week, that the team would come out a little flat against an opponent who will have no bearing on the playoff picture.
One half of the team had that let down. The other half was playing, yet again, great shut down football.
While Durant is admitting they owe the offence one after the win, Tearrius George looked around the locker room jokingly saying he and the defence could use a steak.
I imagine they’d much rather have a few more points to work with so times don’t get desperate after allowing just nine points in the first 59 minutes.
Jamie Nye bleeds green and is the Roughrider insider for News Talk 980 CJME Regina and News Talk 650 CKOM Saskatoon. All of his Rider coverage can be found at www.GreenZoneFootball.com and you can follow him on Twitter @JamieNye.