The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ tailspin has officially spiraled out of control.
The Riders dropped their fourth straight game on Sunday to the Montreal Alouettes in a 17-12 road affair. They now hold an 8-5 record and sit third in the Western Conference after getting off to an outstanding 8-1 start to the season.
Saskatchewan was marching down the field with the clock dwindling down. It seemed as though they were poised for a heroic late game comeback, but Darian Durant threw an interception to Chip Cox in Montreal’s red zone in the final minute of play.
“Whether it’s first down or third-and-goal, you have to take advantage of the situation and score touchdowns,” Durant told the Leader-Post. “Our defence is playing their asses off and they are giving us multiple opportunities to score. We’re just not doing our part as an offence.”
On one hand it’s unfair to put the blame solely on Durant, but on the other hand he’s making it very clear that he’s not capable of carrying a team. He threw three timely interceptions and only completed 24 of his 46 passes.
Some fans are yelling for the Riders to put in Drew Willy behind centre. At this point the Riders have to look at all of their options to get out of this slump; however, it seems no matter whom their starting quarterback is, he will struggle because of the poor effort from the offensive line and questionable play calling.
With Kory Sheets on the sidelines with a knee injury, offensive coordinators George Cortez didn’t even attempt to establish a running game. The Riders only ran the ball nine times throughout the match with two of them quarterback sneaks and one of them a Durant scramble for three yards.
In the air, Chris Getzlaf and Weston Dressler shinned with big-yardage games. Getzlaf caught six passes for 124 yards while Dressler snagged the Riders’ only touchdown with 96 yards on six catches.
Geroy Simon stole the show among the Riders’ wide receivers, though. He broke Ben Cahoon’s CFL reception record on his first of three catches in the game.
Simon, however, didn’t gloat about the record after the game because of the bitter loss.
“It’s tough to put it into words after a fourth loss in a row,” Simon told the Canadian Press. “It means a lot, but it will mean a lot more in a while.
“I’m not about individual accolades. I’m about winning and right now we’re not doing a good job.”
Left guard Brendan LaBatte spoke candidly after the game how he feels about the Riders’ lack of success.
“As a whole, we have to be better,” LaBatte told the Leader-Post. “We’re a long ways from being the team that we were at the start of the year. I don’t know where we got off track, but we have to get back on it right away. I’m looking at the group up front and we have to do a better job.”
It’s too early to write off the Riders’ season because this is the CFL. A hot streak near the end of the year could ultimately give them a chance in the playoffs because of the league’s diversity. Nonetheless, it seems first place has become a pipe dream; they are now playing for second place, which will hurt them in the post-season because home-field advantage in the semi-final could be the difference between a win and a loss.
The Riders continue to play on the road next week as they travel to B.C. on Friday to take on the Lions.