This might be the toughest loss yet. The Calgary loss stung hard, but the Cats very well could have won this game. The 13-point margin of victory is not indicative of how close this game actually was. I don't believe in moral victories, but there were some very good things to take away from this game, even in defeat.
Can I start with anyone other than Arland Bruce? Tying a CFL record for receptions with 16, posting a career high in yards with 272, and adding two TDs. Whatever the team did to get Bruce open, KEEP IT UP! This was Bruce's best game of his Hall-of-Fame career and one of the greatest receiving games in the history of the CFL. BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE!
Kevin Glenn looked good as well. He had two interceptions, though neither was his fault (more on that later), and he threw for 425 yards. Looks like Glenn reacted quite well to the talk of him getting benched.
Let's give a little love to DeAndra' Cobb and the running game. It finally looked like the team figured out how to run the football. It wasn't the best game in terms of rushing the football, but it was the best Cobb has looked all season. I'm hoping this is a sign of things to come.
The Defense needs some love as well. Once again, they held when needed. Another seven field goals by the opposition, and the goal line stand when the Riders started on the two-yard line was one of the most impressive stops I've seen by a Defense. The bend-but-don't-break style might bite them soon, but as of now, it is working wonders.
If Drisan James was cut for dropping too many passes, I think it's time for Chris Bauman to be shown the door. That dropped pass was probably the turning point of the game. If Bauman catches that easily catchable pass, then Palardy doesn't punt, which in turn doesn't get blocked (more on that later).
Glenn's two INTs were not his fault, and the blame lies with the normally sure-handed Dave Stala and Maurice Mann. Those were two HUGE turnovers, and they, along with Bauman's drop, were the key moments in what was a tight, well-fought game. Without those drops/tips, this game probably turns out very differently.
Jason Shivers is absolutely brutal. A few weeks ago I said he was teetering ever so closely to being the 2010 version of Bo Smith. Well, consider the teetering complete. Jason Shivers is the new Bo Smith. And to think, the Cats traded away Chris Thompson for Maurice Mann because Will Poole (who is no longer with the team) and Jason Shivers (who, simply put, sucks) were on the verge of signing. I know Obie says "better is better" but I think he made a grave error here. (In case you didn't know, Chris Thompson has five interceptions so far in 2010.)
I have preached patience with Punter Justin Palardy, but I think enough might be enough. While it wasn't because of his constant stutter-stepping, Palardy still had his third punt blocked this season. That is three too many, especially only five games into the year. I think it might be time the team brought someone in to light a fire under Palardy's butt.
As I said above, I do not believe in moral victories; moral victories are for losers. This is not a team of losers, even if they have done more losing than winning. Plenty of good things can be said of today's performance. For the third consecutive season, the Tiger-Cats went into Regina and nearly came away with a win. However, 'nearly' isn't good enough anymore. If the Cats want to be taken seriously, they need to begin winning these games. Turnovers cost the team today, and demonstrates that the loss today was more the Cats losing the game, rather than Saskatchewan winning it.
With the 1-4 start to the season, the next five games will dictate whether the playoffs are a possibility or not. With back-to-backs against Winnipeg and then Toronto, followed by a home date with the Als, the Cats' season will be determined over the next five games. I think following these five games, the Cats need to sit at no worse than 4-6; that's the only way I think this team can still be considered a playoff contender.
This whole season will rest on these five games. We've seen the moral victory, now we need to see the actually victories. It begins next Friday, in Hamilton, against the Blue Bombers.