After the 'Riders' win yesterday, it's tempting to stick with the line that ugly wins count the same in the standings. But there was in fact some noteworthy strategy involved in the game.
The obvious key for Saskatchewan was a devastating defence on all fronts - and most of the attention has gone to a multi-threat pass rush which kept Edmonton's quarterbacks from using the read-and-react style that suits both of them best by eliminating any time to decide what to do with the ball. But even when a receiver managed to get open initially, the 'Riders' secondary did a superb job of breaking up passes and tackling receivers.
Of course, Edmonton was operating with much the same defence-and-ball control game plan - and executed it well enough to keep the game close until the last two minutes. And that's why the 'Riders' offence and coaching staff deserves more credit than would seem apparent from its yardage and scoring numbers.
Yes, it would have been a plus to see Darian Durant find some more receivers open downfield - especially since the timing that allowed for so many yards after catches in week 1 was lacking in last night's game. And I'm sure we would have seen the offence opened up a bit if the 'Riders hadn't managed to hold a lead even with their offence limited to small gains.
But in a contest where there looked to be much more risk of the Eskimos managing a big play on defence or special teams than on offence, Durant again avoided any turnovers. And he managed the feat despite a higher degree of difficulty than the previous week, as 'Riders' offensive line was largely overmatched.
With the 'Riders conceding absolutely nothing, the few big plays which swung the result consisted of Eskimo turnovers and Kory Sheets' late rushing touchdown which effectively put the game out of reach. And while I wouldn't want to count on that being enough in most games, the 'Riders deserve full credit for converting them into another win.