There are two ways to look at the Saskatchewan Roughriders' 30-26 loss to the Toronto Argonauts Saturday. One, popular amongst some Saskatchewan fans, is that the loss, which dropped the Riders to 0-7, further illustrates that they're a team in crisis, and suggests that their publicly-stated decision to hang on to head coach Corey Chamblin and general manager Brendan Taman (at least for now) may have been the wrong move. The other angle, which may sound silly at first but seems more accurate overall from this corner, is that this loss was actually a remarkable step in the right direction for this team. Yes, the Roughriders still have major problems, and yes, they're not going to blow the league away anytime soon, but this at least suggested they're going the right way and could potentially still even be competitive this year.
What's there to be hopeful about in a loss that drops a team to 0-7? Well, for one, a four-point loss on the road (to a team playing its actual home opener, no less) really isn't that bad under any circumstances, but this one was even closer than most. Saskatchewan had three touchdowns nullified by penalties (part of a total 43 flags on the day, the second-highest total in CFL history), and while that's not a total excuse (the penalties have been a huge issue for this team, and they'll have to be reduced for them to win), it illustrates just how easily this game could have gone the other way. Beyond that, eight of Toronto's points came from a 50-yard third-quarter interception return by DB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and the subsequent two-point conversion on a pass to offensive lineman Wayne Smith (a former Rider, no less), things you're not going to see very often. Moreover, the Riders were able to get to the Argos' 15 on their final drive and get the ball into the end zone (where it fell incomplete). Toronto deserves plenty of credit for this win, but this wasn't the completely overmatched Saskatchewan team we saw in last week's 30-5 demolition by the Edmonton Eskimos. This was a Riders' team that easily could have won with a different bounce at any number of points, and that indicates they seem to be getting better.Read More »from 0-7 record increases Riders' desperation, but hope can be found in loss to Argos