The Saskatchewan Roughriders lost their second straight game on Saturday for the first time this season.
In the 31-29 loss to the Toronto Argonauts at Mosaic Stadium, the Riders were in the game up until the last seconds. Darian Durant led the offensive down the field for the touchdown in the last drive of the game, but a Demetrice Morley sack on the two-point conversion crushed the comeback.
“Shoulda, coulda, woulda,” Durant, who threw three touchdowns and interceptions apiece, told Mitchell Blair. “I don’t look at it like that. They came in and they got a tough win. There’s no doubt we missed those guys and (middle linebacker) Rey Williams, but if you look around the league there are key guys out all over the place. It’s about plugging guys in and making sure you don’t lose a beat and winning tough games.”
In hindsight, the Riders wouldn’t have needed to go for the two-point conversion if Chris Milo didn’t miss his first field goal of the season from inside the 20-yard line.
It is easy to throw the Riders under the bus for looking lackluster once again, but there are two teams on the field that both want to win. The Argonauts’ great fourth quarter deserves its credit.
“We did a good job of trying to put the offense back on the field and the offense did a good job of scoring and giving us a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter, but hats off to those guys. They played really well in the fourth quarter,” said defensive back Weldon Brown, who captured one sack and one interception.
In replace for the injured Ricky Ray, Zach Collaros hit 18 of 29 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown, while throwing one interception.
Riders head coach Corey Chamblin believes his now 8-3 team is still finding their way.
“When I look at football you definitely want to win them all there’s no doubt about that,” said Chamblin. “But like I said, we’re still in the correction phase and we’ve got to find a way to get out of that.
“It’s still correcting itself. When you start off 5-0 with no losses and not learning some lessons early, we’re learning those lessons now.”
The loss hurt, but seeing star running back Kory Sheets limp off the field was much scarier. He left the game in the third quarter with a leg injury.
The look on Chamblin’s face said it all. It appeared he got the wind knocked out of him when Sheets was lying on the ground.
“I hate seeing any of my guys get hurt, but it wasn’t that all was lost,” said Chamblin, who noted Sheets’ injury is likely minor. “Corey got back up and that was the pleasing part.”
Regina native Neil Hughes, who rushed for 14 yards on six carries, replaced Sheets in the half-back position in the game.
Besides losing Sheets, the Riders were without star wide receiver Weston Dressler and linebacker Rey Williams. They were held out of the game because of injuries.
Chamblin didn’t pull out the injury card as an excuse, though. He stuck by the theory that his team wins together and loses together regardless of the circumstances.
“We have 42 men on game day, not three,” said Chamblin. “The guys in the backup roles have to step up and I thought they would step up. It doesn’t matter who we have out there – it is a professional football team.”
The Riders will look to bounce back next Sunday as they host the B.C. Lions at 2:30 p.m.