Well you have to hand it to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. They have surprised us in each and every one of their first five games of the 2012 CFL season. The trouble is it hasn't always been a pleasant surprise.
The Green and White played pretty much error-free, airtight football in their opening three games on the way to a 3-0 record. It was unreasonable to expect they would play at such a high level the rest of the way, but the way the last two weeks have gone is utterly flabbergasting.
The Riders blew a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter in Calgary in Week 4 and lost 41-38 in overtime. Rider coach Corey Chamblin vowed that wouldn't happen again, but the very next game, this past Saturday at home, the Riders built up a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter against Hamilton only to eventually lose 35-34.
This football team is this close to being 5-0 and being the toast of Canadian football, yet they're mired at 3-2 along with four other teams.
"Of course you never like to lose a game in any fashion," Chamblin told us after the game. "There's things we need to reassess and we can't have those second half slides. When turnovers happened, and the long pass to Giguere, field position changed. Those are all part of a game."
Yah, but they're in first-place going into the bye!
Sorry, that's small consolation ... a false positive. The biggest concern is they seem to be without the answers for why they can't stop anybody in the fourth quarter. The heat is on quarterback Darian Durant, however his offence has put up 38 and 34 points in the past two losses. That's enough to win you games.
Durant is directly responsible for the club's three turnovers the past two weeks, yet where are the takeaways? It's a team game and quite frankly while Durant is fine with assuming his share of the blame, there's plenty of blame to go around.
What alarms this blogger is that the Riders were unable to follow up Chamblin's promise that a giant late-game collapse wouldn't happen again. That's proof the coach can't control everything, but his anger and bewilderment after the game show that he's as frustrated as everyone else. Still, as a good coach does, he's keeping his head up.
"The positive is we go into the break a winning team, but there are things we have to fix," Chamblin said. "We didn't panic, but we have to get guys off these emotional swings. We have to continue to learn how to finish; 42 men need to step up and play hard-nosed football."
It's all part of a young team growing up together, but when you think about what could have been, it keeps you up all night.