The grade was an ‘F’ handed down by Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant.
Durant was talking about his own game but might as well of been talking about the entire offence. For the first time all season, the Riders had difficulty scoring -- except, of course, those last 2 minutes.
The Riders' 24-21 win against the Montreal Alouettes on Saturday means we’ll be fed a dose of the old cliche ‘they don’t count how, they just count how many.”
And right now the Saskatchewan Roughriders have more wins than any other team in the CFL.
|Bagg down again|
The latest setback in Rob Bagg's football career occured Saturday when he hurt his knee while trying to make a block down-field. Darian Durant's so-called 'spark plug' just finished battling back from two major knee injuries in as many seasons.
But by Durant stepping forward after the game and instead of uttering a typical cliche, threw out a failing grade as he shows why this Roughriders team is so much different than the one on the football last field.
Trust me. It’s been a comparison made far too many times through the first seven weeks.
Durant is moving this team forward by such a simple answer to a question.
Last year, complacency set in. A sense of ‘good enough’.
Not this year.
Durant is setting the standard that wins aren’t just good enough because if they have that quality of game against a team like the Calgary Stampeders or B.C. Lions, there won’t be a chance to throw a 65-yard touchdown pass in the final minutes to tie.
The Riders thought they got a wake up call against the Stamps last week, but this week’s win may be the alarm going off after someone hit the snooze button.
Teams can play up to their opponent. It should be easy to find the mental focus to battle a rival, but it’s the ability to have that same drive, determination, effort and most importantly focus to take on teams that are below them in the standings.
Saskatchewan has three more of those tests coming up with Edmonton and two games against Winnipeg on the schedule.
A loss against any of these teams leaves the door open to Calgary and B.C. to step through that door to claim a share of the lead in the West.
The good news from Saturday’s game. The Riders defence certainly doesn’t need to be scolded for this week’s performance.
And for the first time this season the team leaned on their defence heavily to come through for the win. The offence wasn’t scoring over 30 points and the special teams was leaving the defence in unenviable positions with two returns put on the turf by Jock Sanders.
Lets be honest. The Riders defence was on the hook for about six of the 21 points the Alouettes scored on Saturday. An absolutely dominant effort that may be getting overlooked.
Members of the Riders defence Tearrius George and Dwight Anderson came over to the offensive players during times of the game to explain that the boys on ‘D’ would keep them in the game until the offence found their game.
The offence did their part, though late. Another building block in place for a team Head Coach Corey Chamblin continues to preach must become and remain a family through good times and bad.
After last week’s loss, it was a test of those values and the Riders can grade out as an ‘A’ in that category.
But now comes another test. The Riders biggest injury this season was Darian Durant missing one game. Now, the Riders may be without the player Durant sees as a ‘spark plug’ for the Riders offence, Rob Bagg.
Weston Dressler is also banged up and fought through the pain to contribute in a big way on Saturday. Chris Getzlaf missed some action late before returning to make a big catch.
Corey Chamblin said when he coached against the Riders he thought they were the toughest team in the CFL. He thought they lacked that quality the last couple of years and wants to re-establish that.
Dressler and Getzlaf fighting through the pain is a good start but how long can they go?
Many in Rider Nation may have forgotten how long a season is in the CFL and with a 5-0 start the Green and White could put it on cruise control.
There is loads of highway left and a tonne of traffic up ahead.
Right now it appears they have the right people driving.
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.