Basking in the after-glow of a brutal 19-17 thrashing of the worse Edmonton football team to ever play in Commonwealth Stadium, Clarke Stadium or any other stadium in Canada, Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo stated “we find a way to win, and good football teams seem to do that.”
Yes, they seem to do that, but is this the kind of win that shows the Roughriders are a good team? That is a perfectly passable sports cliché to spout after beating virtually any other CFL team in the league on the road. But the 2021 Edmonton Elks? After almost blowing the game in the fourth quarter? Yeesh.
Speaking on behalf of nobody, I want 2019 Cody Fajardo back. I liked that Cody Fajardo. Every time he threw the ball, you knew it was going to be caught, and typically for a big, meaningful gain. Yes, swing passes for a two-yard gain (or, more likely, a two-yard loss) are awesome, but have you ever seen a 25 yard slant or a 50-yard touchdown bomb? They are totally cool.
Maybe Stephen McAdoo wasn’t such a bad offensive coordinator. Maybe the 2021 Roughriders offensive line ain’t so good. Maybe Roughriders Offensive Coordinator Jason Mass understands the weaknesses of the offense and is simply building the best game plan he can based on those weaknesses. And maybe Mr. Fajardo is coming back down to earth after catching the league by surprise last year. Who knows? I don’t.
I do know what I saw last year. I do know that a receiver corps (not corpse) that includes Shaq Evans, “Duke” Williams and a rookie named Kian Schaffer-Baker, plus an all-purpose battering ram like William Powell, should not be having this much trouble putting up points. And the crazy thing is, the Roughriders defense, which is the real strength of the team, ensures that the offense doesn’t need to light it up every game. Three touchdowns and maybe a field goal or two should be enough to beat any team (with the possible exception of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers).
I was too lazy to put up a post predicting a Saskatchewan loss in Edmonton last Friday. That’s what happens in Commonwealth Stadium on the rare occasion that a crummy Edmonton football team is playing a good Roughriders football team– the Roughriders typically blow it. So I suppose Friday night was a nice surprise.
But with two games left in the regular season, the Roughriders’ offense needs to get its head out of its ass and start playing to its potential. Head out. Eyes forward.
As for this Saturday’s Roughriders/Elks game at Mosaic, I predict a nasty blowout for the Roughriders, feeding off a demoralized Elks team comprised of players just waiting for the season to end so they can go home. Then, for Saskatchewan’s regular season finale against the surging Hamilton Tiger-Cats, that is the kind of game that, if the Roughriders can grind out a 2-point win on the road, Cody Fajardo can say afterwards: “good teams find ways to win.”
Because it’s true.