Roughriders get knocked down. Can they get up again?
Riders drop 23-8 decision to Bombers in front of home fans
"Adversity doesn't just build character, it reveals it."
Craig Dickenson may have borrowed and tweaked that quote from American novelist James Allen Lane, but when it works go with it.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach had just witnessed his team with an unbeaten record get dominated by a superior team from Winnipeg.
The Riders' dropped a 23-8 decision to the Blue Bombers in the Labour Day Classic in front a sellout crowd at Mosaic Stadium.
Now the coach is trying to figure out what he's got.
"We're going to see what we're made of now...the jury's out," said Dickenson.
Blue Bombers' defensive end Willie Jefferson had the Riders pegged the day before.
The former Rider put Saskatchewan's 3-0 record in perspective stating the Riders just hadn't played anybody good yet.
It may have been more of a shot at the Lions, Ti-Cats and Redblacks, but he was probably right.
The Bombers informed the Riders what they would do the day before, when they released their depth chart showing they would dress nine defensive lineman.
That meant they planned to bring the heat on the quarterback and it was up to the Riders to stop it if they could.
32,975 witnesses saw that they couldn't.
Quarterback Cody Fajardo, who played his most proficient game of his career two weeks earlier, saved his lousiest for the Bombers in the Labour Day Classic, the most anticipated game on any Rider fan's calendar.
His completion percentage of 59% was not indicative of what it truly was as he was 50% before a late drive in the 4th quarter with the Bombers playing soft to protect the win.
Fajardo also threw three interceptions, another personal worst.
But it fairness, there was hardly a play he didn't have a Bomber defender in his face.
They faced the best front seven in the CFL and they didn't know to deal with it.
Fajardo, the leader he is, put the loss on himself, suggesting he let everybody down.
This man however can find a silver lining in fake jewlery.
"It's not like we lost the west final and our season is over."
Funny how he should bring that up.
For nearly two years the Riders had to live with the memory of Cody Fajardo's pass to Kyran Moore in the endzone, clunk off the cross bar ending the Riders season against the Bombers in the 2019 west final.
The memory was cruelly refreshed when the exact same thing happened again late in the 4th quarter in the opposite end Sunday evening.
Like rubbing salt in the wound.
"That was the cherry on top of what kind of day it was. Now I've hit both of them (crossbars) I should be good, I couldn't help but laugh." said Fajardo.
The Riders' faithful didn't look to be sharing the good humour from the irony as they filed out of the stadium.
Many curious no doubt, how their team will pick themselves up from this one and in less than a week.
The two teams will hook up again in the 17th edition of the Banjo Bowl this Saturday in Winnipeg.
"I trust we will get better in the second game." said Dickenson.
"The challenge is the noise, now we've got to play in Winnipeg, the noise is going to be a factor so its not just a matter of getting a little better against an opponent."
There's no mystery on what the Riders will have to work on to fare better.