Not only was there seven different lead changes, but quarterbacks Brandon Bridge and David Watford were rolled in and out of the offence seemingly at random.
Neither quarterback performed particularly well in the 18-13 win, but that doesn’t mean that head coach Chris Jones is going to change his methods.
“I want more out of them. I’m hard on them,” Chris Jones said after the game. “We’re just going to keep grinding until we figure it out.”
Bridge said he knew going in that a rotation was possible, but it didn’t make it any easier when it happened.
“They said if I was good on the first two series then I’d probably get more and then I think they just kept rotating and rotating,” he explained. “As a quarterback, you can never really get into a rhythm like that. We made the best of it, that’s the cards were dealt so we had to play that hand.”
Bridge said earlier in the week that his preference is to know he’s in the game and in the game to stay and those are the situations he performs best in, however, Jones said he can’t concern himself with that.
“I don’t worry about it. That’s what they pay me to do is to try to figure out somebody to go in there and play. The best way to stay on the field is to have success on the field. That’s what I would tell him,” Jones said.
Rhythm was the word that was being thrown out all around the locker room after the game. The offence couldn’t find it. The running backs – who were in a rotation of their own – noticed it too.
“I feel like we didn’t have good rhythm,” said Marcus Thigpen who rushed in the game-winning touchdown. “The quarterbacks were switching, the running backs were switching. It’s just one of those things where you gotta trust the coaches, you don’t know what they see or what they have in mind. It worked out tonight, but I think (the struggles are) more so a rhythm thing.”
Perhaps the only time the Roughriders offence found a bit of one was on the final drive. Bridge found Joshua Stanford for a 29-yard pass, then handed the ball off to Thigpen who scampered 34 yards into the end zone.
In that case, Bridge knew he was the man.
“On that drive (quarterbacks) coach (Steve) Walsh said ‘you have to go out there and have a game-winning drive.’ I just honestly felt like I’ve been here last year in so many situations so I’m like ‘you know I’m just going to go out here and trust it,’” Bridge said.
“I got these last two minutes to work and I have to make something shake.”
The Roughriders now head into the bye week with a 2-2 record.
Starting quarterback Zach Collaros is still recovering from a concussion suffered in week 2 versus the Ottawa Redblacks and his timeline to return is still up in the air.
In the meantime, it seems that the tandem between Bridge and Watford will continue until one of them steps up.
And until then Jones will depend on his defence to help get the wins – something he said has worked before.
“I remember (linebacker) Cornell Brown played for the Baltimore Ravens back in the day (2001) and they played defence, played special teams until they figured it out and they still won the whole thing,” Jones said.
“Our quarterbacks – it’s what it is until we can figure it out.”