Bridge rallies Riders to exciting road victory over Argos

Dan Ralph, Canadian Press

Canadian Brandon Bridge put the Toronto Argonauts’ playoff party on hold while moving the Saskatchewan Roughriders up the West Division standings.

Bridge came off the bench to pass for 292 yards and two TDs and rally Saskatchewan to a hard-fought 27-24 win over Toronto on Saturday night. After Ricky Ray’s 19-yard TD pass to S.J. Green tied the score 24-24, Bridge marched the Riders 64 yards on 11 plays, setting up Tyler Crapigna’s game-winning 18-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining.

Saskatchewan (8-6) took sole possession of third in the West Division, four points behind second-place Winnipeg (10-4). Toronto (7-8) could’ve clinched a home playoff date with a victory.

The six-foot-five, 230-pound Bridge completed 20-of-28 passes after relieving starter Kevin Glenn in the second quarter. Glenn was pulled after completing just three-of-eight passes for 29 yards.

Bridge came in with Saskatchewan trailing 16-3. The 25-year-old native of Mississauga, Ont., capped a smart nine-play, 75-yard drive with an eight-yard TD pass to Namaan Roosevelt to cut Toronto’s halftime lead to 16-10.

Then after Lirim Hajrullahu’s 74-yard single put Toronto ahead 17-16, Bridge found Caleb Holley on a 75-yard scoring strike on the final play of the third. He followed that up by hitting Bakari Grant for the two-point convert to give the Riders a 24-17 advantage before a BMO Field gathering of 15,102 that not only featured plenty of green jerseys but members of Bridge’s family.

The mobile Bridge was able to effectively elude Toronto’s pass rush and buy his receivers time downfield.

“That’s what Brandon has, the ability to extend plays,” said Riders head coach/GM Chris Jones. “When you only have to cover for 2 1/2 seconds, 2.7 seconds it’s a little easier to scheme up things coverage-wise.

“But when that play extends to four, five and six seconds then all of a sudden your (defensive backs) have to be even better.”

Toronto defensive back Alden Darby said Bridge’s mobility was a factor.

“He did a good job with his feet,” he said. “He’s a little younger, more agile and a little bit bigger quarterback.

“We have to key in on both quarterbacks because both might see action.”

Bridge led Saskatchewan to a 27-19 win over Hamilton as the starter on Sept. 15. But Jones said despite Glenn’s struggles, he remains the Riders’ No. 1 quarterback.

“In professional baseball, when somebody has a bit of a slow time in an inning, what do they do, they bring in the guy that they call in relief and that’s all we did,” Jones said.

“He (Glenn) wasn’t feeling it tonight, wasn’t seeing it. He’s a great leader and he will still be our starting quarterback. You (media) can debate about that all you want to but that’s what it’s going to be.”

Bridge said he prepares each week as if he’s the starter and added when he gets into games his primary goal is to prove Canadians can play quarterback in theCFL.

“I’m really trying to open up doors for the Canadian players who want to play quarterback,” he said. “That’s my main goal . . . and that comes from winning.”

Trent Richardson, the former Alabama star, had five carries for 20 yards in his CFL debut with Saskatchewan. But it was veteran Kienan LaFrance who contributed 38 yards rushing on six carries down the stretch.

Toronto had to finish the game without running back James Wilder Jr. He left following a 12-yard completion after taking an incidental helmet-to-helmet hit from Saskatchewan’s Henoc Muamba on the game-tying drive.

Wilder had 72 yards rushing on 13 carries and seven receptions for 90 yards. Ray finished 30-of-37 passing for 341 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

“We didn’t play well offensively, we could’ve scored more points and didn’t,” Argos head coach Marc Trestman said. “We didn’t play well enough defensively to stop them when we needed to stop them.”

Toronto’s defence was minus starting linebackers Marcus Ball (foot) and Bear Woods (upper body) and defensive lineman Cleyon Laing (undisclosed). Ball went on the six-game injured list after being hurt in last weekend’s 43-35 overtime win over Hamilton, but Woods was deactivated Saturday after being tested for an unspecified ailment Friday.

Akeem Jordan, who played eight NFL seasons with Philadelphia, Kansas City and Washington, replaced Woods while Ken Bishop took Laing’s spot.

For the third straight game, the Riders linked arms during O Canada. It’s a show of unity following U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial remarks about NFL players kneeling during the American anthem.

Crapigna finished with four field goals and a convert.

Martese Jackson scored Toronto’s touchdown. Hajrullahu added three field goals, a single and two converts.

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28 Comments on Bridge rallies Riders to exciting road victory over Argos

  1. I am having a little trouble with Rider’s linking arms in supposed solidarity with NFL players that are disrespecting the Flag of their country.
    They have all dropped a notch in my opinion of the team.
    This disrespect for the flag that so many have given their all for is unacceptable – there is a big difference in not liking the president or the prime minister – I would turn my back on our prime minister and wouldn’t p$35 in his face if his hair was on fire – but – I would never turn my back on my flag or what it stands for.
    Ya need to think about that lads.

    • Commodore – so respectfully linking arms to quietly and respectfully protest police brutality upsets you but stating that you would not pi$$ on the democratically elected leader of our country and leader of our armed forces and representative of our flag is Okay?
      You need to think about that sonny boy.

    • Naw, nobody needs to think too hard about what people like you think or say. Them’s not exactly deep thoughts.

    • Fred Fateri // October 9, 2017 at 2:49 pm //

      I thought this article was about Brandon Bridge coming in for Glenn in relief.

    • riderontheisland // October 10, 2017 at 12:20 pm //

      Take your head out of the sand and listen. It’s people like you the hold back progress.

  2. Well said Commodore. The bottom line is protesting is a protected right but so is running your business as you see fit and attending whatever event you want. Proper way to handle this is to wait till the game is over and attend a first nations rights rally or something like that. As for Football..Brandon Bridge is proof positive that Canadians can thrive in a non ratio protected environment as the quarterback position is. This is no different then the NBA and NCAA which have no quotas for Americans or anybody else. So young Canadians are flooding NCAA Division one Basketball and the NBA. This should be enough proof to slowly lower the ratio to four which is what the MLS had for Americans in its first few years but no longer has. I think the drop in Ratio should be tied to Expansion teams in non MLS markets that can support home game attendance of 20,000 per. Current CFL average. I would start with College stadiums then build small stadiums on the MLS model such as the new one in Orlando. Markets that are ready in my opinion are Halifax, QC, Waterloo Erie Shore region, Windsor-Detroit (NFL fans upset about anthem), and Victoria. Each new team should be accompanied by a one man drop in ratio till you reach 4 and hold. Bridge is the template. He sought Division one training in the sun belt conference and went to the Manning camps twice. Once year Manziel was there. Canadian colleges will have to upgrade or join NCAA Division two as is allowed right now.

    • Lancaster/Reed // October 9, 2017 at 10:22 am //

      Im not sure how standing at attention with your arms linked is disrespectful of the Canadian flag and national anthem. Have you aver watched american players during the anthem. I did. When the riders did this the first time when the stamps were in town; the riders were in tight formation, looking forward, and seemed to be paying attention to the anthem. Calgary players were scattered accross the sidelines, some barely facing forward, weight shifting from one foot to the other, some staring at the ground, basically acting completely disinterested in the flag or anthem. To me, that seems a lot more disrepectful to the Canadian flag than standing at attention with arms linked.

      • I’m with Lancaster/Reed, ScottSask, Grain and the other like minded people on this. I see nothing wrong, and only positives, from linking arms and showing unity, equality, togetherness, etc. No disrespect there, only respect. I guess my longer answer to the question would be that I hope we don’t make a habit of making too many statements at CFL games, and we see them only in extraordinary circumstances. Sask. can be a very politically divided place and football and cheering for the Riders is one of the few times that NDPers and SPers can stand side by side cheering for the same team, so I wouldn’t want to see political statements that started to divide Rider Nation on political lines.

      • As an additional comment from another angle altogether, even if what the NFL players were doing was disrespectful to the US Flag, which I don’t think it is, that’s their constitutional right in the US, and by denying them that right you would be disrespecting the US constitution, the very document the country was build on. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are cornerstones of the American value system. Of course Pence has the right to stand up and leave as well, but I think that most Americans do not see this protest/statement as being disrespectful to the flag or the US in general, and I think that kind of spin is just a political game by the Republicans.

      • Excellent response.
        Plus those who are against players standing w/arms linked or kneeling – they need to read up as to why the players are doing it. Has nothing to do with disrespecting the flag or the military!

  3. Scottsask // October 9, 2017 at 10:45 am //

    Agreed, they stand together united. Black, White, Canadian, American and an Australian. This in no way disrespects our flag or our country, which our American players and coaches have a lot of respect for. This proud Canadian and Roughrider fan has no problem with what they are doing.

  4. Lancaster/Reed: Commodore is right. Using the Canadian national anthem to support an issue in the US, or any other country, IS disrespectful. There are plenty of other places or times for CFL players to make a point un-related to football..which is what started the NFL protests.
    I appreciate that the ties between Canada and the US in football are very close but I see the Saskatchewan arm-linking as nothing more than knee jerk, copy-cat stuff for an issue that should only involve the US and the NFL.
    The playing of Oh Canada means a lot to me. At the same time, I have never seen the need to play it prior to hockey and football games…or at any sporting event except the Olympics or other international sport competitions.

    • Lancaster/Reed // October 9, 2017 at 11:09 am //

      I guess what you and i consider disrepectful are different. I suspect while the riders stand still at attention while O Canada plays, that more american born riders are thinking about what a great country canada is, than the disinterested americans on the other side of the field, who are basically ignoring the flag and anthem , waiting for the game to start.

  5. Typo…O Canada!!!! My apologies

  6. Play the ‘Dam’ game of football – cut the ‘crap’ politics !

    Happy Thanksgiving!!

  7. I don’t have a problem with men linking arms and standing at attention in support of others during our anthem. I take issue with the countless feckwads in the crowd who are too busy playing with their beer, or can’t be harsed to take off their hat during our anthem, those are the deadbeats. When interviewed, all the Riders bend over backwards in support of the Canadian anthem. For those Rider fans who are turning of these men, our men, on social media, shame on you. Shame.

  8. I will take the shame

    Either play the game of football or go home !

    • Lancaster/Reed // October 9, 2017 at 1:11 pm //

      Or, if it offends you so much, take a moral stand like these players are, and dont attend the game.

      • Ronnie/George: From my perspective… I don’t think disagreeing over whether it is disrespectful or not to support some cause or another during our national anthem…is being offended. I am not “offended” in the slightest by what they are doing.I just think it is misplaced. It certainly would not be enough of a big deal for me to take a moral stand and stay home if the Tiger-Cats did it. Regardless I think this show of support by players during the national anthem on both sides of the border has pretty well run its course now and is becoming irrelevant.

  9. The way the Riders are using both QBs is a good thing for their team and – in my view – Brandon Bridge.

    Rather than throw Bridge into a sink or swim situation, he’s coming in without the pressure as their starter wasn’t able to get the offence flying. That is a good thing and it will help Bridge become a starter versus just another ruined QB who had potential but lost it all by playing in losing situations.

    As far as the Riders locking arms and the silly comments from posters that it disrespects our anthem, flag or whatever with one clown suggesting it’s okay to turn their backs on a PM or President – you really don’t grasp what living in a true democracy is. If you turn your back on a PM or President, it does respect the country as the office holder – irrespective of our political views – while at a public function should be shown respect. On the political campaign, turning your back is just fine.

    I don’t grasp the white privilege that says that somehow protesting the mistreatment of African Americans and others at the hands of the police is disrespecting the flag, the anthem and the military.

    It strikes me that the Trump style supporters are so easily fooled I wonder how they can understand football.

  10. You just don’t get it – free speech – free whatever !

    Everything costs – money drives professional football .

    If this offends you – start a socialist Crown Corporation to pay for your football team and kick guys like me out or better yet – tax me to death and vote in another NDP government

    • Lancaster/Reed // October 9, 2017 at 2:54 pm //

      Yes, you are absolutely FREE to not attend another rider game, and im sure there will be plenty of fans willing to purchase that ticket you dont want. I think the riders will be fine without you.

  11. Scottsask // October 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm //

    Ok, now that we’ve all said our piece and it has changed anodolutely nothing let’s get back to the business of football.
    Coach Jones is doing the right thing by sticking with Glenn and have him start. This puts no pressure on Bridge at all and if Glenn struggles in the first couple of series, bring out the hook. Glenn’s not going to pout if he gets pulled, he’s going to help on the sideline like a good teammate and leader, because that’s what leaders do…… unlike our last qb.

  12. Rider Rooter // October 9, 2017 at 3:05 pm //

    Argo fan base was kinda small for the ridersin town.Was there never heard attendance but lots of empty seats.
    The league needs to re think the interference rules

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