It was a shaky start but Chris Jones and co. got the job done. Jones appeared to be doubling down on his ways early on; Duron Carter starting on defence, Brandon Bridge and David Watford trading reps and
a defensive lineman playing guard. However, the tides turned come halftime as the Roughriders were able to establish the run game immediately with an 80-yard touchdown run by Marcus Thigpen. The Riders were further aided by a questionable decision courtesy of June Jones to attempt an onside punt with Jeremiah Masoli on 3rd and 13. Three plays later, Bridge found a wide open Naaman Roosevelt for a 24-yard pitch and catch. Christion Jones would put the game on ice with a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown.
A collective groan could be heard across Rider Nation as David Watford strolled out as Bridge started out slowly. However, by the second half, Bridge had full control of the offence and looked more confident than ever. Bridge finished the game with a whopping 77% completion on 22 attempts with a touchdown to boot. However, the real story of the Riders offence was the run game which put up a collective 218 yards rushing. The often talked about offensive line did its part opening up holes for the likes of Thigpen, Messam and Mason. With Jones, it isn’t clear what the plan will be on offence going forward with the quarterbacks but if the run game remains this strong, it may not matter. Whatever the plan was coming into Thursday’s game it helped the Riders prevail.
Defence Digs In
Carter had a quiet night and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The rest of the defence posted two sacks, created two turnovers and allowed just three points in the second half. Consistent pressure by Charleston Hughes and friends stifled the Ticats offence that saw Masoli fail to pass for 300-yards for a CFL record 10th straight game. While posting a 71% completion rate, 184-yard passing performance, Masoli simply didn’t create enough big plays in the second half for the Ticats to remain in the game.
Leading up to their next game against Ottawa, the Johnny Manziel watch will be in full swing as the Ticats fall to 2-3 on the season. For the Riders, they have their first inner-division matchup next weekend at Mosaic Stadium. The (currently) undefeated Calgary Stampeders come to town. From there it’s five straight Western Division matchups that will dictate the course of the Riders season.
Main image credit:
Embed from Getty Images