It was second and seven in the fourth quarter and the Riders were in desperate need of a touchdown.
Desperate need of any sort of offence, really, but a touchdown would have brought them within five points with time left on the clock to do more damage later.
Bridge takes the snap and hands it off to running back Tre Mason.
Before the three-yard run even finishes boos are ringing out in Mosaic Stadium. The fans had had enough of the Roughriders run game, swing passes and ten-yard darts.
— murben (@murben) July 29, 2018
After blowing up in the first quarter and allowing Calgary to score 24 points, the Riders nickled and dimed the Stampeders back into the game.
A pick six by Tobi Antigha and five field goals by Brett Lauther – including a 56 yarder – kept the Roughriders in it but the offence sputtered.
Brandon Bridge went 19 of 29 for 147 yards. The offence as a whole rushed for 100 yards – with Mason leading the pack with six carries for 37 yards.
The Riders ended up losing the game 34-22.
“Calgary’s got a good defence. You got to give credit where credit is due,” said head coach Chris Jones after the game.
“Brandon did not throw the ball exceptional tonight … Those little give me throws, those second and five check down throws, those have to become 99 percenters,” he added.
This kind of play calling, according to Jones, will hopefully slow the game down for Bridge which will, in turn, make him more successful.
“You better get used to it because we’re going to do some more of it,” Jones said to the assembled media after the game. “I can tell Edmonton (next week’s opponent) right now we’re going to run the football, we’re going to be running sally, we’re going to throw screens and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to get good at it and we’re going to play great defence and special teams,” Jones said.
As for why they’re doing it this way?
It worked for Calgary.
“They’re running the ball, they’re running sally, they’re running quicks, they’re running screens. They’re not asking (Bo Levi Mitchell) to throw the ball vertically down the field and they’re the more successful football team over the last half-decade.” Jones explained.
“We’re trying to get where Brandon (Bridge) can throw a higher percentage and when you’re struggling throwing the deeper route, it doesn’t necessarily add up to more completions.”
And Bridge said he saw merit in the play calling, especially with how Calgary plays defence.
“They actually have a great defence out there. They have a defence that plays back and they like to drop back and rally to the football,” Bridge said. “They take away a lot of the deep throws … so you don’t want to put the ball in jeopardy especially with a team like that.”
So fans looking for more creativity on offence, shouldn’t expect to see it next week against Edmonton, especially since the Roughriders are on a short week.
The club will take Sunday off before returning to the practice on Monday at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday’s practice is closed and the team will fly to Edmonton on Wednesday.
Game time is 8 p.m. at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.
- Naaman Roosevelt appears to be okay after a scary play that saw the receiver land directly on his head. According to the Riders he was removed from the game as a precaution but his issue is more his neck than his head, anyway.
- Charleston Hughes racked up two sacks against his former quarterback,
- Samuel Eguavoen and Ed Gainey led the team in defensive tackles with five each.