Antidepressant sales in Saskatchewan dropped over the weekend as the Roughriders broke their four-game losing streak on Friday in a 31-17 victory over the B.C. Lions.
The win doesn’t mean the Riders are back to their early-season form where they won their first four games quite easily. It, however, does give the Riders hope that they can take second place in the Western Conference with a glimmer of a chance to snag first.
Weston Dressler believes the Riders didn’t lose it during their losing streak. He feels the difference in the outcome was because of the team’s better effort.
“I don’t think we ever lost it. We lost four games in a row, but I wouldn’t say we pulled together more so than at any other point in the year,” Dressler told the Leader-Post. “We just haven’t made a few plays here and there in some of those losses. We kind of dug deep and found a way to make those plays this game.’’
The Riders apparently didn’t treat the victory as just another win following the game. Head coach Corey Chamblin described the celebrations afterwards as ‘It was like a Grey Cup championship.’
“It was a party, I will tell you. It was like a Grey Cup championship, because guys have worked so hard and they’ve done a lot of things. It’s pretty tough to work your tail off and not see the fruition of your hard work, but the guys really turned it on and they were excited.’’
Darian Durant got back on track against the Lions, connecting 21 of 31 passes for 234 yards and one touchdown. It seems the main reason why Durant played better than his recent couple of games was because Kory Sheets was back on the field. He was able to use Sheets as a crutch and it took some pass rush off him because the Lions’ defence had to hold a couple players back behind the line of scrimmage just in case Sheets broke through.
In the Riders’ previous game against Montreal, the Alouettes blitzed a lot because Saskatchewan didn’t establish a running game; therefore, they didn’t have to focus much around five yards over the line of scrimmage. This ultimately led to Durant making more mistakes by rushing passes, which led to interceptions and incompletions.
What it all boils down to is that Durant isn’t a strong enough pocket quarterback to play in a system that doesn’t lean on a running back. He just doesn’t have the composure to carry a team that can’t move the ball down the field on the ground. He also plays better when he’s running. He rushed for 38 yards against the Lions after only accumulating 13 yards in his previous three contests.
In his first game back from his knee injury, Sheets rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns on 14 touches.
“It was real fun,” Sheets told the Leader-Post. “Honestly, I probably could have outran those guys. I saw the flag and I thought it was a holding call, because one of the blocks that sprung me free was kind of iffy. So when I saw it, I was like, ‘I’m out of shape, so I don’t want to get tired,’ because there’d be a holding call and you’ve got to come back and do it again.’’
On the defensive side of the ball, the Riders snagged three interceptions and five sacks. They didn’t have to play against the Lions starter, Travis Lulay, because he was out with an injury, though. So having rookie quarterback Thomas DeMarco to deal with instead did help their cause.
The Riders’ win could ultimately lead to them exchanging their losing streak for a winning streak. However, it would be irrational to forget how poorly this team played during their four-game meltdown. They didn’t look like a contender, more like a team that should be scrapping to make the playoffs. Therefore, this is a watch-and-see time. If they can indeed use the B.C. game as a turning point, anything is possible. This is in fact the CFL. But if the Riders can’t beat the Edmonton Eskimos next Friday, antidepressant sales could go back up in the Land of the Living Skies.