The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ mid-season tailspin is starting to spiral out of control following their third consecutive loss on Sunday against the B.C. Lions.
The Riders were in the game until the final play when former green and white kicker Paul McCallum gave the Lions a 24-22 victory off the tip of his boot.
Chris Getzlaf spoke candidly on how he felt about the loss.
“This is horrible,” Getzlaf told Mitchell Blair of Riderville.com on the loss. “Our offence continues to be flat and it’s very frustrating. Teams are getting a lot of pressure on us, we are facing a lot of second and long situations and when that happens you are not going to get a lot of first downs. It’s a struggle across the board and we all have to pick up our game.”
Following failing to get anything going on two consecutive drives, it seemed Darian Durant was poised to lead his club to a late comeback. He punched in a touchdown in the air to Weston Dressler with 38 seconds left on the clock. But that time was enough for the Lions to get into field goal.
The blame of the loss can’t be solely put on Durant, but he yet again didn’t look like a seasoned veteran. He constantly locked onto wide receivers without scanning the field, at one time he threw the ball two yards over the line of scrimmage and he fumbled the ball twice. The true testament to Durant not living up to expectations is that he’s squared off against rookie quarterbacks in three straight weeks, and although he hasn’t been clearly outperformed, he hasn’t shown he has a significant step on his much younger opponents.
In back-to-back weeks, Chris Milo missed a field goal that ultimately cost the Riders the win. He missed a 37-yard attempt against the Lions.
Riders head coach Corey Chamblin isn’t hitting the panic button just yet, though.
“We still have to play football at the end of the day,” Chamblin said to Blair. “We have to be able to handle every situation when it’s presented to us. We have to make the field goals, we have to make the first downs and stop them from getting first downs, and we have to stop taking some penalties. We did a lot of good things out there today, but we all have to take a gut-check and look at ourselves and make sure that individually what we do is going to produce a win.”
Although injuries aren’t much of an excuse because every team is struggling with them, not having Kory Sheets in the lineup really hurt the Riders’ offense. His replacement, Chris Garrett, only managed to muster 30 yards on nine rushes.
On one hand, reality has officially sunk in for the Riders. They aren’t this great team that stands out in front of their competition as they did in the first four weeks. However, on the other hand, the season is far from over. It seems if the Riders manage to head into the playoffs on a strong note, they could have a shot at the Grey Cup since the competition appears to be quite close.
The Riders hit the road next Sunday to take on the Montreal Alouettes.