Classic playoff football sends Riders to the East Final

If you were to make a checklist for winning a playoff football game, the Saskatchewan Roughriders checked all the right boxes on Sunday afternoon and are off the East Final following a 31-20 win over the Ottawa Redblacks.

Box one would be dominate defensively. You can mark that one emphatically for the guys in green. Sure, Trevor Harris finished with 457 yards passing but those numbers are inflated by the fact that Ottawa trailed most of the day and were forced to go to the air far more often than they probably would have preferred. Despite the yardage, the Riders defence held firm only allowing a touchdown in the first quarter and late in the fourth quarter when the game was already over. In between, they bent at times (as this is the CFL and offences will put together drives no matter how good the defence is playing), but they didn’t break. Ottawa couldn’t get that clutch red zone score when they needed, being forced to settle for field goals instead. They even turned over the ball on downs once. The big play was rarely open for Harris as he settled for underneath stuff most of the day and the Riders defence did a fabulous job rallying to the football.

Check mark two goes beside big plays. Defensively, the Riders again won the turnover battle with a couple of interceptions, a turnover on downs and a fumble recovery compared to one fumble recovery for Ottawa. One of those interceptions ended a promising looking Ottawa drive, the other might have been better had Jovon Johnson knocked it down but Ed Gainey dropped a sure pick in the end zone, no harm, no foul either way. They also got some big plays from the offence (a 75-yard touchdown run from Marcus Thigpen) and special teams (43-yard punt return by Christion Jones after a pitch from Chad Owens, a perfect day from Tyler Crapigna, and more brilliant punting from Josh Bartel.)

Add check marks next to the run game (212 yards rushing as a team), discipline (just three penalties for 15 yards) and luck (some uncharacteristic drops by Ottawa receivers) you have a recipe for success.

A week ago, the Riders did just about everything you couldn’t do to win a football game, especially in the playoffs. This week, they did the exact opposite and it led to a dominating performance against the defending champs.

Now, they’ve given themselves a shot at history next week in Toronto.

Game thoughts

– For the life of me, I can’t understand why Ottawa rushed three on first down more often than not. Unless they wanted Glenn to stay in the game, it’s obvious that Glenn has been struggling with pressure for basically the last month and a bit. By nature, Ottawa isn’t a team that gets after the quarterback on a regular basis, but they had to in this one to have success. Glenn had all the time in the world and used the variety of weapons at his disposal to pick apart the Redblacks secondary. The offensive line certainly deserves some credit, especially with Brandon LaBatte on the shelf.

– Good thing the Riders didn’t cut Bakari Grant, eh? After he goofed and let up on a play before the end zone leading to a turnover a couple of weeks ago, there was a small section of Rider fans calling for the veteran to be off the team. Grant had a big game with 85 yards and touchdown, making good on his mistake.

– Chris Jones had a moment with a TSN camera operator and I don’t blame him. I don’t think Jones was mad that the signal was being shown on camera (it happens all the time), all it takes is one player missing or misinterpreting the signal to cause everything to go sideways. Something that could easily happen with someone in the way.

– I liked the mix of calculated risks Jones and the coaching staff took in this game. Their fake, fake field goal to try and draw Ottawa offside was worth the attempt given the field position at the time. It would have been a long field goal try for Crapigna, at worst the Riders were moving back five yards, giving Bartel more room to operate. That’s what happened. Jones also made good calls on short yardage at the goal line and at their own 44-yard line.

– The Riders will now stay in Ottawa this week ahead of the East Final. I thought it would be a logistical nightmare to house a football team for a week on relatively short notice but the Riders did it. Helps when money is no object.

–  Lastly, as usual, when the officials do a good job I like the praise them. Nothing really stands out as a really bad call in this game. Kudos.

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic.
Joel Gasson
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Joel Gasson
About Joel Gasson (129 Articles)
Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic.

91 Comments on Classic playoff football sends Riders to the East Final

  1. Fine Jones. If you don’t want a camera around coach from the box.
    Yesterday was a bad day for sports in the most profound way I’ve ever seen. The entire point is reward for winning.That is the essence of sport. Yesterday we saw a 4th place team get rewarded over the 3 teams who finished above it. Why would Edmonton have to go on the road and face a tougher opponent than Sask did?. Why does Edmonton have to do the same this week? Is this right???? No it’s not.Its very simple and undebatable how wrong this is.

    • Lancaster/Reed // November 13, 2017 at 3:51 pm // Reply

      Jeesh donkey. Last night you were whining about leaving you alone and let you focus on your team; but here you are again on a rider story. I guess the riders really are your team after all.

      • If something needs said I’ll say it

        • Lancaster/Reed // November 13, 2017 at 4:03 pm // Reply

          Thats how i feel about you. Go focus on your stumps you zero integrity welcher.

          • If anyone is a welcher with zero integrity, it’s Chris Jones. That’s a fact, hands down, no argument. He’s a great coach, so so GM, but what he did in Calgary to get Toronto was inexcusable.

          • Lancaster Reed. Welsher is a hate term you know

          • Lancaster/Reed // November 13, 2017 at 8:27 pm //

            Donkey, welcher describes you perfectly. What term do you use for someone that doesnt honour their word?

          • Welcher implies people from Wales don’t keep their word. It’s discriminatory.

        • You are a self-righteous troll – Just something that needs to be said.

        • Even is it doesn’t need to be said, you will say it. Even if it’s really stupid you will say it. Even is it makes sense you will say something stupid. Even is it doesn’t apply to the story you will say it. The Riders are trending in the right direction, have a tough but winnable game coming up, then it’s a Rider Esks GC . . . . one for the ages.

    • Horsee, why did Edmonton have to stay in the west because they had a better record than the green and white? What do you really think? Good gosh, man, sometimes you’re absolutely embarrassing with comments like that. What happened last year when Edmonton went east? Why did they keep all their starters in during the last game of the season? You saw what happened last year? The media keeps harping about the west never advancing to a Grey Cup when travelling through the east. Get over your cynicism. You’re absolutely embarrassing everyone with comments like that. Your team better be ready for Edmonton. You should be finding out reasons how Calgary can defeat Edmonton. And stop worrying about the Roughriders. We’re doing just fine, thank you.

      • So you’re arguing because no crossover team has never made it to The Greycup means it’s ok to reward the 4th place team?

        • You weren’t complaining when the Riders lost to Edmonton. Now, you’re complaining because the Riders advanced to the eastern final. What do you want? Get over that nauseating attitude of sour grapes. I’m getting tired of it along with most other Rider fans.

        • You mean the 4th place team that has a better record than EVERY team in the East? Don’t think a crossover team has ever had a better recored than not only the 3rd and 4th place teams, but also the 1st and 2nd. They should change it a step further and allow the crossover team to host the semifinal if they have a better record than the 2nd place team. Of course the Riders deserve to be in the playoffs. You’re obviously afraid of the Stamps losing to the Riders, but don’t stress about it too much as Calgary won’t get that far anyhow. Edmonton will eliminate them this Sunday… and if the Riders had stayed West they would be eliminating them. Calgary wasn’t getting to the Grey Cup either way.

          • You’re point works if we do away with the east and west format. But that’s not my argument. The riders couldn’t compete with the calibre of competition in the west. And were rewarded for it.

          • Lmao. Guess what? If/when Calgary is eliminated nest week and if/when the Riders win the Grey Cup, they’ll finish the season with the EXACT SAME number of wins… but with Riders having the most important wins.

          • Well in that scenario you may have the same number of wins but you would have also played 2 more games so its kind of a silly thing to hang your hat on. Anyways at this point it’s all hopes and dreams isnt it?

          • Right on the money with your comment Sean. These yappy stamp fans chirp all season long then rightly get shit scared come playoff time as they see the other teams up their intensity //play high level football and more often then not destroy the stamps in the playoffs. barring a questionable illegal block penalty the Stamps would have only a 2008 GC to show for all their posturing and Flugnagually at the time perfectly played the underdog card for the Stamps to be able to win that game that day as the Als were arrogent just like the stamps are now.

        • The riders have a better record than both the playoff teams in the east how are we rewarded. The riders are on the road.

          • Rider fan.. the Eskimos finished 12-6 and had to go on the road and play another 12-6 team. The riders finished lower at 10-8 and had to go on the road and played a sub .500 team. Why was Sask rewarded by having a lesser opponent when Edmonton should have been rewarded this. Whats the point of the regular season when a worse season gets you and easier playoff path?

      • Greenrider89..are you suggesting Edmonton should have tried to loss last week if they wanted to go through the east?…how ridiculous.. maybe you are ok with the idea of the riders throwing games but no other team’s fans want their teams having those principals.

        • Horse breath, get serious. You’re pasting words in everyone’s mouth. Commenting to you is like commenting to someone underneath a gravestone. I’m not going to waste my time trying to answer dumb questions. Please, horsee, make objective comments or stop going on Rider stories. Most of your contributions are absolutely worthless.

          • With all due respect greenrider89..2 comments above you said “Then why did they keep all their starters in during last game of season” in reference to the Eskimos. reading between the lines that sounds very much like suggesting Edmonton maybe shouldn’t have Tried so hard that game so they could have gone east

          • Lancaster/Reed // November 13, 2017 at 8:29 pm //

            Donkey, you dont day anything on this site “ with all due respect”. You have zero integrity and offer no respect.

          • Lancaster/Reed // November 13, 2017 at 8:30 pm //

            Donkey, you dont say anything on this site “ with all due respect”.

        • Throwing games? You mean like how the Stamps didn’t play BLM their last game? They can’t win without him, so what do you call that? Positioning Winnipeg to host the playoff?

          • It was a meaningless game for Calgary. A win or lose meant nothing for us. That’s not the case in the end Sask game

          • Yeah it is the same, where the Riders played for playoffs was more meaningless to them than having a healthy roster for playoffs.

    • Who says Edmonton’s opponent this week is tougher than Saskatchewan’s? Calgary’s finished the season sucking pretty bad and probably are aneasier win than Toronto. Either way, think it’ll be the visiting teams meeting in Ottawa.

    • E. Einstein IV // November 13, 2017 at 8:41 pm // Reply

      This first comment on This article is the all time winner as the most pathetic thing I’ve ever read. I’ve read some real junk and some real low down garbage. But this 1st comment makes all of those other comments 1st class articles. Pure wet stipple out of a Donkeys ass.

    • How is Edmonton facing a tougher team than the riders on Sunday ?

    • You moron , what ever happened to the Chokepeders being the most awesome team ever in the CFL , indomitable and will win the cup easily . Your now shitting your pants over the very likely fact that the chokepeders will get their asses handed to them by a very good eskimo team , on Sunday. If the Chokepeders manage somehow to fluke off a win in the final , you then are again shitting your drawers as you know the Choke peders will be so mauled by the esk’s that a quality opponent either the Argo’s or Riders will probably kick the snot out of the looserpeders in the cup final. So gain look for excuses to talk down to other team fan bases , you dickhead, no matter how the playoff would of been arranged one of the better then the chokepeder organizations would of handed their asses to them by the end of the playoff season. I for one could careless what team kicks the snot outta your looser team and faggot qb and head coach , I will enjoy anyone embarrassing the chokepeders!!!!!!

  2. Wow. I missed that during the game. The camera man cut right in front of him while he was trying to signal in a play! I hope we get an apology from TSN for that. That’s flat out interfering with the game.

  3. Jones is focussing on winning a game. Get that punk kid holding the camera out of his face. Man the cfl is such a budget trash league – end of story.

  4. Donkey the first to comment yet again lol. What a loser

  5. What a small mind Donkey has. Like listen to his whining. He’s already making excuses ahead of his a$$ whooping the Stamps will take on Sunday

  6. This camera man didn’t pass in front of Jones he passed beside him. Is Jones the director??. TsN pays big money to the team’s for the broadcast rights. Jones if not fined should be apologising IMO

    • Lancaster/Reed // November 13, 2017 at 4:01 pm // Reply

      Look at the video donkey, the cameraman is mostly in front of jones when jones told him off. I guess reality must be skewed when looking through your red tinted glasses.

      • Lancaster if that cameraman was right in front of Jones you wouldn’t be able to see number 10. He would be directly behind Jones

        • Lancaster/Reed // November 13, 2017 at 4:59 pm // Reply

          Thats assuming #10 is directly behind jones, which he isnt. He is behind and to the left of jones. The camera pans from beside jones till almost directly in front , that is why #10 wasnt in the frame to start with but came into frame as the cameraman moved to jones right and ened up almost in front of jones.
          My god you are just an embarrassment to true sports fans.

          • Lancaster/Reed // November 13, 2017 at 5:00 pm //

            Thats to the left of jones from jones perspective, not the cameraman.

          • That all depends on the angle. If Chris Jones and me are both standing in a room of any size or any shape in random positions..and you come along and start circling that room , at some point I will be directly behind Chris Jones and at some point Chris Jones will be directly behind me. It all depends on your perspective. However I digress, notice how you only see Chris Jones right eye until he turns his head? If that camera was truly in front if him you’d see both eyes straight on and that same head movement would cause you to only see the left eye..

        • Lancaster/Reed // November 13, 2017 at 5:58 pm // Reply

          Donkey stop being an obtuse troll. If you look at the stands in the background, you clearly see that the cameraman is moving to be in front of jones. Unless you believe the stands moved to make it just look like the cameraman moved in front.
          When drew is back to work tomorrow, i suspect you will be kicked off, yet again.

          • Well I guess we will agree to disagree. So Drew should kick me off because I disagree with you?

          • Lancaster/Reed // November 13, 2017 at 6:26 pm //

            No he should kick you off for being an annoying troll. Hes done it twice now at my request.

          • Lancaster/Reed // November 13, 2017 at 7:54 pm //

            Donkey, by the way, when a troll says “agree to disagree”, it is code for “ my argument is garbage, but I’ll be damned if i will admit to being wrong. “.

        • E. Einstein IV // November 13, 2017 at 8:46 pm // Reply

          Just shut up Donkey. Definitely the most juveinllie little puke any sports blog has ever seen. It dosent matter what TSN pays. He’s in the way of a coach doing his job. I hope you disappear for good when the EE give Bo and company a beat down this weekend.

    • Instead of Chris Jones, you should be talking about Jason Maas and welching on the headphone game against Montreal. Then lying about it. Or for that matter, throwing his headphones and shattering them. Or spitting and yelling at game officials and players. Good for Chris Jones. Absolutely nothing wrong with what he said. You ever heard of intensity on the sidelines, horsee? In fact, I found it rather colourful what he said. Nothing wrong with that.

      • What does Jason Maas have to do with This?. Did he assault a cameraman?

        • Assaulting a cameraman? Are you nuts, or just stupid? And if you wish to complain about one person, be objective. Or is that too hard to comprehend?

          • Stumpyou, more like your assaulting this website and Rider stories. The math answer to post your next comment will be 4. The stamps soon to be losing streak. Not a coincidence. Just fate. You’re welcome. You don’t have to run and ask someone.

    • 20 seconds in between plays, Jones is substituting players and calling a defensive play and a TSN cameraman has the right to go on the field of play at this time and circle damn near in front of him. It could be blocking the view of some players trying to see him and a distraction. But because TSN pays a lot they have the right to go where they want. You’re looking at this at an angle of “I don’t like the Riders, so I will post this without an objective view, only mine and not Coach Jones”. Think about first. Two sides to every story. GTFU stamp fan.

      • Do you think this is the first camera to ever be on a sideline Mr Green? This same thing happens to every team every game.
        Of all the players, coaches and other personal on that sideline did anyone react like Jones did? Why didnt number 10 and 92 intervene when when saw the guy walking up to Jones if something wrong an unusual was going on? This was audacious . Seeing how Jones doesn’t care about costing the team fines, I think the league needs to tell Mr Jones his little extended vacation is over and he can sit Sunday and possibly the next Sunday out.

  7. TSN is becoming so outdated , CFL look to the Americans and their broadcasting
    Choose ESPN – CTV and Sportsnet won’t oppose any American broadcasting in Canada
    Canadian Broadcasters are Pro – Yank , look at how Bell challenged the CRTC last year during Super Bowl
    CRTC grabbed their tails and ran

  8. Seems to me he either throws a left hook or flips the bird at the end. I can’t tell.

  9. Good article, good analysis Joel.

    Go /=S=/!

  10. Rational Fan // November 13, 2017 at 4:07 pm // Reply

    The crossover system has been in place for at least fifteen years. What makes it so wrong this year? Perhaps because the commenter has a strong dislike for anything Rider-related. Additionally, the camera man was approaching Jones from the side and moving to the space between Jones and the players on the field. Why would a coach be fined for coaching. The commenter’s call would suggest that he would supports a camera operator interfering with action on the field.

    • Who said this is the first year I’ve complained? The truth is I’ve had problems with it for ever.

      • Why don’t you complain about other teams for a change. Better yet, complain about the lacklustre performance of the Stampeders for the past month. If I were you, Horsee, I would be worrying about the upcoming game.

      • Rational Fan // November 13, 2017 at 4:18 pm // Reply

        Are you suggesting that Winnipeg or Edmonton might have preferred to go east for a potential three week run living in hotels? Do you really see that as easier than being home after each game? While the Riders’ record was better than all in the east, neither Ottawa nor Toronto could be considered pushovers.

        • The riders are choosing to live on the road. They could have chartered out Sunday afternoon and spend the week in the comfort of their own facilities if they wanted, so that point is moot.
          You re saying Ott and Tor have been playing better as of late and therefore are not easier opponents than the west. What you are essentially saying there is playoff matches should be based on the very subjective method of who is playing well and who is playing poor at the end of the regular season??? It would be interesting to see you as commissioner of a league.

      • Oh believe you me greenrider89. I am very worried about the upcoming game

        • Then find something objective to talk about instead of always griping about the Riders. Personally, I would love to see the Riders play Calgary in the Grey Cup. Toronto will be a formidable challenge for the green and white, especially at home. Calgary better have their A-game against Edmonton should they wish to advance. They have the talent, but can they overcome adversity?

        • You should be, Reilly and his crew are going to mess up the Stamps.

      • We all know you have had problems with complaining forever, that’s all you ever do.

  11. I don’t blame Chris Jones on that one, you can’t have a camera guy cut in front of a crucial play calling signal when it was 3rd and 10 for Ottawa.

  12. In between plays is a dumb move for a camera man to be in the field. Substitutions and play calling in a very big game. It’s not like the drive was just starting. Of course a coach will be upset if the camera obscures any view between sideline play calling and his players on the field. Any coach would have said basically the same thing. I guarantee that, especially a playoff game with more on the line. This punk stamp fan commenting need a to dial it back and quit contradicting himself. You know if it was his team his opinion would change. He will disagree but we all know his comments are bipolar like.

  13. DoubleBlue1873 // November 13, 2017 at 7:11 pm // Reply

    Getting past the whole crossover/cameraman debates, this was a good article. I was at the game yesterday with my buddy who’s a Rider fan and saw the same things as Joel. No pressure on Glenn whatsoever for the entire game. Two big turnovers that killed Ottawa drives. Basically domination in all three phases and a complete 60-minute game. The Riders were the better team throughout and deserved the win. They’ve been impressive ever since they turned their season around in the home-and-home against BC.

    Next week should be tougher if my Argos come to play the way they did against BC lat week. Looking forward to an awesome “Eastern” Final!

    I also agree that Calgary had better find the mojo that won them games earlier in the season (especially on D) or they’re toast against these Esks.

    • Just a 'Riders fan // November 13, 2017 at 7:41 pm // Reply

      TOR has been impressive. Trestman deserves Coach of the Year, no doubt. And who doesn’t like Ricky Ray? Both games next week will be epic!

    • Anthony Kaduck // November 13, 2017 at 9:24 pm // Reply

      Thanks DoubleBlue1873 for trying to shift this discussion back to football!

    • GL to your Argo’s Double , I hope its a good game as well with no serious injuries to either side. I am obviously hoping for a Rider win but your team has a pretty amazing run game , and if Ray is on it could be along day for my Riders.

  14. Man oh man. I’ve sho2ed that video to a few and everyone says it’s spine chilling. They all went and hugged their children. It’s very violent.

    • Jackass!!! man I hope you know how to shut your mouth in public son because if you don’t , somewhere and some when you little punk one of those alberta rig pigs is going to rip your head off when you continue to yapp on a dead issue. Now go put your jammies on and get ready for your school day tomorrow in grade 7 , as that is obviously how old and immature you are .

    • Lancaster/Reed // November 14, 2017 at 12:06 am // Reply

      Which video is that? The ass kicking your stamps took from the riders on oct 20th? Yeah, for a stamps fan that was pretty gruesome.

      • Don’t make light of Jones’s action. I’d like to take a moment and reach out to the camera man….I hope you are ok wherever you are. Let stampnation know if you need anything.

  15. I expect Toronto to put more pressure on the quarterback, to not give up on the run and to go after Kacey Rodgers.

    • KC is build more for the taller more physical receivers like the argos have. He has had trouble all year against the shiftier smaller receivers ie Dressler etc. KC is also ore a run stopping corner so will be interesting to see how he does agaist Wilder who is a beast.

      • This is probably an easier game than Ottawa imo. The Riders are pretty capable of stopping the Argos run, as they held Wilder to 42 yards rushing in their 1st game this year. When the Riders are playing their A game, nobody can stop them.

  16. Colourmegreen // November 14, 2017 at 12:27 am // Reply

    Perhaps it is time to take this show to the Stamps articles. Rider fans can troll the stamp site for awhile and see how that goes.
    This website will eventually cease to exist as it really is becoming irrelevant. Too bad it wasn’t about football fans talking about football.
    3downtrollnation

    • Apparently without a flood of Rider stories very little dialogue occurs. When ever a see Stampeder article , there is about 2 comments , but for what ever reason large numbers always want to talk about the Riders stories, for a team that so many hate it amazes me that the Riders are so well read about . Frankly when I see a article about the stamps I avoid it like the plague as I could care less about their team and what happens with it. However I will enjoy reading about the absolute arse kicking the Esks I hope at going to give them this upcoming Sunday . Headline BO Levi has easrly start to season of dressing as Drag Queen his favorite hobbie as Esk move on to Grey Cup after demolishing Stamps 50 -3 in Western final.

      • Lol so you say you avoid stamp articles then go on to admit you like reading articles about the stamps demise. So in other words.You DO like reading stamp articles. Especially ones where it’s easy to dog pile on.

  17. Completely agree colourmegreen. That being said. If we as football fans would ignore the trolling and maintain a coherent dialogue pertaining to the sport we love, this site would be a much more enjoyable place to visit for actual information. DON’T FEED THE TROLL! I’m looking at you Lancasterreed.

  18. No troll feeding needed this weekend as there will be about 9,000 people at the game (full mark to those who show up, though). All those dedicated red latte drinkers will raise a pinky to their cherished team from the comfort of their living rooms. At the Flames game last night, they were offering a 45% discount on Western Final tickets. My guess is that the Dinos will have drawn more once the two are compared. (By the way…awesome final 59 yard kick to beat the T-Birds!)

  19. antoine lussier // November 14, 2017 at 9:45 pm // Reply

    these are “supposedly” professional teams–so who cares what their standings were–remember when calgary 8-10 beat a 16-2 blue bomber team in the grey cup?or when Edmonton nearly lost to a j.c. watts Ottawa roughrider team that was below 500. those games were highly entertaining.

    • I think you’re thinking of the 8-10 Riders beating the 16-2 Eskimos in the ‘89 Western Final to advance to the Grey Cup and win… the Eskimos 2 losses that season were also to the Riders.

  20. Of course, other than the cameraman, Jones also lowered some F bombs at Gainey for messing up in one on one coverage, dissing him in public. As for being in hotels for 2 weeks being harder than sleeping at home, Jones did that earlier this season. That’s done by choice to give him an ADVANTAGE, not to make it HARDER for his teams. What I’m hearing is the Esks beat the Riders to take the easy way which means the Riders couldn’t beat the Esks to get the easy road. That was one take earlier this weekend. NOW the poor Riders have it much harder going East to stiffer opponents so again they couldn’t beat the Esks fair & square to avoid going East. How do you want to keep spinning this? Make up your minds.

    • I don’t care that much which way the Riders went and they don’t they did either. Think they’ll get to the Grey Cup either way.

  21. There was no 16-2 Blue Bomber team EVER, Antoine. But your point is well taken. To make the point even more, Riders won 10 games, Argos won 9. You can’t say playing in the East Division benefitted the Argos because the West & East teams all play 8 games vs the East & 10 games vs the West. This is hardly David vs Goliath. No one team is clearly superior.

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