Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/8/2019 (513 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad is that it looks like it’s going to take starting pivot Chris Streveler more than a year to transition into the kind of throwing quarterback we all want and hope him to be. The good news is that it doesn’t appear to matter at the moment whether he rushes or throws for more yards in a game.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers continued their romp through the CFL with an emphatic win Friday night, and are continuing to do it in unconventional ways. They are playing with a dominant defence, precision special teams, and an offence that rushes for more yards than it passes for. It’s not normal, it doesn’t necessarily make sense in the CFL, but it’s been working.
The surprising thing about the Edmonton game was that everyone knew what the Bombers were going to do: rely heavily on the run game. They had a relatively inexperienced quarterback coming into the game, who is much more comfortable running the football than throwing it, and they had the best back in the game in Andrew Harris, and a good offensive line.
So what did the Bombers do to catch the Eskimos off guard? Did they use the threat of the run to open up the passing game? Nope. Did they fake to Harris and go long over the top to Chris Matthews? Nope.
Did they do exactly what we thought they were going to do? Yes. Did it somehow work? Surprisingly well. They handed off the ball and ran, and they snapped the ball to Streveler and ran. And there was nothing the Eskimos could do about it.
This is always the first sign of an exceptionally strong football team. When you don’t have to disguise what you are going to do, because you are so good at doing it, no one can stop you. This is how good this football team is at winning the line of scrimmage and running the football. In fact, when you look at the summary of this game, winning the ground game and allowing one fewer turnover and fewer penalities, are really the only statistics that this team hung their hat on.
Edmonton had almost twice the total offence: 523 yards to 278 yards. They had three more minutes of time of possession, more first downs, and 430 passing yards to 89. Edmonton had three times the yards after the catch. They completed 65 per cent to 41 per cent of passes thrown, and they had a passing efficiency of 98 to 58. The Bombers won with 189 yards rushing to 93 yards for the hosts. The Bombers enjoyed 6.8 yards per rush average compared to 5.8 for the Eskimos.
Without their defence giving opposing quarterback Trevor Harris fits, and Justin "Money" Medlock stroking kicks like usual, they don’t win this game, but that’s why it’s a team sport.
There are two things that concern me about winning in this manner. One, it was pouring rain in Edmonton for most of this game. Downpours and miserable conditions are ideal for keeping the ball on the ground,.
But what happens when it’s ideal weather and the game turns into a track meet? Can the Bombers control the ball and the clock with their ground-and-pound style of football? They have so far, so we shall see.
Secondly, it is my understanding that when a quarterback leaves the pocket with the football, and is not giving himself up with a slide, he is to be treated as runner. Which means Streveler is going to be subject to enduring at least another month or so of big shots and tailback-type contact and collisions.
I’m not sure this is sustainable.
But what do I know? I thought Edmonton could stop the run.
Doug Brown, once a hard-hitting defensive lineman and frequently a hard-hitting columnist, appears weekly in the Free Press.
Doug Brown, always a hard-hitting defensive lineman and frequently a hard-hitting columnist, appears Tuesdays in the Free Press.