Riders needed more early to win the East Final

Just like that, the 2017 Saskatchewan Roughriders season has come to an end. The finality of the one game playoff in football is harsh but it’s the fact of life in the sport.

The Riders run at history is over after a 25-21 loss to the Toronto Argonauts in the Eastern Final, they came up just short even after a furious fourth quarter comeback. So, how did it happen? Individually there was plenty of moments throughout the game you could point to, but ultimately, the Riders are going home because they didn’t take advantage of the opportunities they created for themselves, especially in the first quarter.

The green and white created the first two turnovers of the game. A turnover on downs and a fumble recovery. What did they have to show those game-changing defensive plays? A 7-3 deficit. The turnover on downs lead to a field goal, a touchdown there could have had the Riders mojo going in a different direction. Instead, the drive stalled deep in Argo territory and from then on, the offence did little to nothing until the fourth quarter. In fact, the Riders offensive effort helped Toronto score 10 more points (a pick-six and a field goal off another interception) before the half was over.

Everything else fell into place for the Riders at BMO Field. The defence was the only reason they were even in the football game, they got a big play team on special teams when Christion Jones returned a punt to give his team the lead late.

The offence did eventually come to life with a big fourth quarter, but it never should have come to that. If anything, having the wind in the fourth quarter and eventually all of the momentum should have ended the game. Jones’ return touchdown probably would have been the exclamation point with even just even more points off of turnovers in the first half. Instead, the Argos had time to regain the lead and Ricky Ray did his thing.

Ray had the chance to win the game thanks to his team scoring off turnovers. On this day, his team was the better team.

That was the difference.

Game thoughts

– This week Argos’ defensive coordinator Corey Chamblin said he would bring the heat and he did. In combination with the turnovers, and the offence being stuck in neutral overall, that pressure again chased Glenn from the game. It really makes you wonder what Ottawa was thinking last week defensively. The Riders need to upgrade their pass protection over the winter. As much as Ottawa should have sent pressure, Saskatchewan should have known it was coming against Toronto. They’re just not good enough in that aspect. (I might have suggested this was important before the game).

– Speaking of Chamblin, he’ll be a head coach in this league again soon. I’m sure of it. He’s done a great job with the Argo defence this year. It might not be next year, but he’ll get there. Both he and the Riders have landed on their feet after their break up in 2015.

– The two quarterback thing worked in the regular season but next year the Riders need to pick their guy. I don’t know if Brandon Bridge will be an elite quarterback in this league, but the tools are there. If he’s back, he should be given a chance to run with it. If not, find a guy and go with them. The two goalie system has rarely worked in hockey when push comes to shove, neither did the two QB system.

– Officiating was a hot topic toward the end of the first half. A couple of iffy calls went against the Riders (the Knox call bothers me more than the pass interference). However, those calls did not decide the game nor did they change the game. After each call, the Riders had the Argos in second and seven and didn’t get stops. I’m not even going to talk about the “conspiracy” because to suggest anything like that is asinine. Other than those two calls, the rest of the game was fairly well officiated.

– It probably didn’t matter but I have no idea why Duron Carter lateraled the ball on what turned out to be the Riders final offensive play of the game. There was still time for a couple of more plays.

– I’ll be at Grey Cup Week, but I have to admit, of all the possible match ups heading into this weekend, Toronto/Calgary was the least interesting to me. Should still be a good week, hopefully, I’ll see some of you at the 3Down Get Down. 

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

48 Comments on Riders needed more early to win the East Final

  1. Vintage Ricky ray vintage Kevin Glenn

    • Lancaster/Reed // November 22, 2017 at 12:48 pm //

      Vintage Kevin Glenn. Well said. So you can never again say that Winnipeg wins the 2007 grey cup if Glenn had played. Thanks for dispelling that myth.

  2. justforkicks // November 20, 2017 at 7:44 pm //

    Should be Stamps without even getting winded. Not my choice but Riders should have handled Argo and Stamps won’t make that mistake.
    Funny here in Edmonton for the last couple of weeks hard to hear a peep about the CFL playoffs when listening at random times to my car radio. Today however the calls were hot and heavy calling for Maas’ head. The rest of the time it’s been Oilers bla bla bla. Not much mention of next week’s game.

  3. Please do not bring Glenn back, it would make me give up hope for 2018..

  4. Riders – 21
    Argos – 7
    Officiating – 18

  5. I beg to differ. The Riders should end their two-QB system. They don’t need to “find a guy and go with THEM”. Enough with THEM (plural), they need a HIM (singular). Pick one guy and go with him.

  6. Stallion in grey saddle // November 20, 2017 at 8:36 pm //

    The riders don’t have a “2 quarterback system” They play Glenn until he makes a mistake then put in the backup Bridge.This is a sign of weakness not some great “system”

    • Hahahahaha hahahahaha so true

      • Better than the Stamps only qb system. They wouldn’t even beat Montreal without Bo, Buckley showed that this season. You should be hoping for a loss next week. If they win and Bo goes South, so do the Stamps.

        • George Porge // November 21, 2017 at 1:09 pm //

          Considering that to even make your point you are comparing your QB situation to a second-year backup quarterback playing his first professional start in his career using a pre-season playbook in cold weather against a team that actually won the season series against your team?

          Yeah, I’ll keep our guys and you can keep yours, mmkay?

        • George Porge // November 21, 2017 at 1:11 pm //

          Also, we get Bo for at least one more year. If he decides to try for the NFL after 2018, all the more power to him. In case you haven’t been around the last 20 years or so, Calgary has a knack for finding and developing quarterbacks.

          • There’s no guarantee of that for any player, ever. CFL contracts mean absolutely nothing if players want to try the NFL. And yeah I’ve noticed that between Burris to Bo was how many years? And you had didn’t have shit in between.

          • George Porge // November 21, 2017 at 2:58 pm //

            If Bo asks to be released to try for an NFL gig, he’d be allowed to do so. And again, us Stampeders’ fans would be behind him all the way. You’d think, though, if that were realistically going to happen it would have happened after Bo’s Grey Cup MVP year in 2014. Bo has said repeatedly that he intends to play out his entire contract and there hasn’t been any indication whatsoever that contradicts that.

            Burris left the team after 2011 and Mitchell became our starter in 2014, so that’s two whole seasons between the two. In those two years we still managed to make it to the Grey Cup the first year and the West Final the second. In case you’ve forgotten, the starting quarterback in both eventual playoff losses those years was the same quarterback that you seem to prefer over the guy that has since led his team to three division championships and a Grey Cup win in his first four years as a starter.

          • These qb’s Calgary supposedly develops? Name one in the past 20 years besides Mitchell that didn’t start games for another team BEFORE Calgary.

          • George Porge // November 21, 2017 at 5:39 pm //

            Jeff Garcia, Dave Dickenson, Henry Burris, Drew Tate…

          • Burris started a whole 2 games for Calgary before going to Saskatchewan and Tate started with Saskatchewan.

          • George Porge // November 21, 2017 at 6:02 pm //

            Moving goalposts much? You asked for one QB who started a game for Calgary before any other team. I gave you four, all of whom had pretty successful careers.

            Exactly what criteria are you using to define a “start?” Two games as a starter doesn’t count for Burris to have “started” in Calgary first, but zero starts for Tate who was wallowing on the Riders’ PR and IR for two years absolutely counts as having “started” in Saskatchewan?

            Even you have to admit that your comments are getting pretty weak here, Sean.

      • Lancaster/Reed // November 20, 2017 at 10:32 pm //

        Ahhh, true love and adoration for donkey . Thats so sweet.

  7. Huge positive season for the Riders and it will only get better next year.At the start of the season who would have expected them to be
    one or two plays from playing in the cup final?Good on Ricky Ray,Great QB !

  8. greenonions // November 20, 2017 at 9:56 pm //

    Bruce Arthur put it perfectly regarding the Riders – “a team that plays heroically inept football for about 51 minutes of a 60 minute game”. The Riders were bad, plain & simple. Glenn & Bridge completed 17 of 34 passes between them, were pressured constantly & they were lucky to be hanging around in the 4th Qtr. I’m sure Jones will sign Bridge which means nothing. Doesn’t mean he’s on the roster next year. If Rider fans were honestly assessing these 2 guys, they aren’t the ones to hitch your wagons too – either one. Bridge was a 50% passer in college & that’s what he’ll be in the CFL. He has a big arm, with a lousy throwing motion, & is horribly inaccurate. He is the CFL version of Tim Tebow, except Tim Tebow actually had a very good college career & won the Heisman. As a non-Rider guy I’ll say this to Chris Jones & Regina – please, please, please sign Bridge. Make him your starter in 2017. Then, welcome to 5th place. BC will also love you.

    • Glenn is still under contract for next season. If Bridge is re-signed he won’t automatically be the starter, they’ll compete for it in training camp.

  9. whateverfloatsyourboat // November 20, 2017 at 10:06 pm //

    The CFL needed Toronto in the Grey Cup to try and create a small amount of interest there. The CFL will stop at nothing to keep a franchise in Toronto, including telling the refs how to do their jobs. Saskatchewan fans will come out next year, win or lose. Not so in Toronto. Saskatchewan 9 for 94, Toronto 4 for 43. That hit on Glenn was a penalty, I’ve seen calls for far less. I thought protecting the quarterback was a priority.

  10. Congrats to Riders on a good season. Realistically I think the Riders exceeded expectations on how far they would go this year. Next year Grey Cup? There is now parity in the league & with a slew of free agents every year on all the teams, spending wisely on FA’s is key. The last 7 years, 7 different teams have won the Cup. Only Wpg & Ham didn’t. So that string will be broken this year. With the CAP there is no advantage. You gotta draft well & make some good decisions on FA’s. Spending big on the best guys out there doesn’t always pan out. Jackson, Williams, Bell, Gurley, Ojo, Fantuz, Greenwood, Sinkfield were among the top 30 ranked last year. Some got big bucks. Was Dennis worth the bucks in Regina? It’s a crap shoot.

  11. If the fix was on, whateverfloats, why not call a penalty on the kick return TD that late in the game? We’ve seen phantom calls before – ask Karen Kuldys. That would have finished the Riders. Why chance Argos having to come back in the last 2 minutes – no guarantees there. Rider fans always have excuses. You seriously think the Riders played well enough to win? They were terrible. the QB’s were pressured all game.

  12. I’ve seen lots of people saying that Calgary/Toronto was the least-interesting of four possible matchups, and I don’t fully understand why. I personally would put it at second of four.

    Calgary-Saskatchewan would have been my top choice. I examined the competing mindsets of the two teams in a mock-3DownNation-style post called “Why Stamp and Rider Fans Battle (& 10 Other Thoughts)”. A great playoff rivalry was established from 2006-2013, when they had six playoff meetings in eight seasons, and having that rivalry play out on the biggest stage in a historic first would have been excellent.
    Calgary-Toronto is next up. It’s a nice symmetry from last year, when the Stampeders faced Ottawa in Toronto, since they are now facing Toronto in Ottawa. Calgary really has something to prove, with all the “choker” mockery directed their way this year, so I’m glad they get a chance to do so. No other matchup has the ghost of Grey Cups past playing such an important role, and it’s the two divisional winners competing for the title – a pretty good recipe for interest.
    Edmonton-Saskatchewan would be third, mainly featuring the Chris Jones storyline. As with Calgary-Saskatchewan, it would be the first-ever meeting of divisional rivals in the championship, which is what separates it from the fourth-place option. But Saskatchewan’s rivalry with Edmonton is muted compared to those with Calgary and Winnipeg, even accounting for Chris Jones.
    Edmonton-Toronto would be fourth. Most of the interest would be around Ricky Ray, but “Quarterback nearing end of career wants to go out on top” is no longer that special, with Henry Burris doing it last year and Peyton Manning the season before. And his past with Edmonton is ancient history – this was his sixth full season in double blue.

  13. Marc Lebut // November 21, 2017 at 9:57 am //

    “– It probably didn’t matter but I have no idea why Duron Carter lateraled the ball on what turned out to be the Riders final offensive play of the game. There was still time for a couple of more plays.”

    Ducon Rarter is not a big game player. When the stakes get higher, he won’t clutch to level to them. He failed to do that so many times already.

  14. It is ironic, and funny, that two of the game changers in the East final were Shaun Lemon and Armanti Edwards. Jones had both of those on his roster but decided they were expendable and they both came back to bite him. Great talent evaluator that Jones is.

    • Lancaster/Reed // November 21, 2017 at 8:27 pm //

      Ok mr mastermind gm, who would armanti edwards and his 962 yds and 11.6 yard/catch replace on the rider roster? Roosevelt 1035 yds , 13.8 yds/catch? Carter 1043 yds 14.3 yds/catch? Grant 1033 yds 12.3yds/catch? Our backup receiver caleb holley and his 15.6 yards/catch? He was going to sit on our practice roster.
      As far as lemon, he didnt want to play the style of defense jones wanted him too. Good player, but not a good fit for jones defense. Maybe know something before typing you jackass.

      • Typical Rider fan. Can’t accept an observation without calling someone a nasty name.

        • Lancaster/Reed // November 21, 2017 at 11:39 pm //

          I see you are not even going to argue with my logic. Typical troll.cant back up their post with logic. Just hate.

        • Lancaster/Reed // November 22, 2017 at 6:18 am //

          And for the record, it wasnt your observation i couldnt accept, it was your cheap shot at jones as an evaluator of talent. That earns you a double jackass.

  15. The Riders don’t have 2 QB system. That would be like Joe Barnes and John Huffnagel. Or Kent Austin and Tommy Burgess. Two QBs that could each be starters. They have a system with two backup QBs that they hope can get it done on any given day.
    As for Derek Dennis getting the big money in free agency: was he worth it? No way. He turned out to be a bust at left tackle so he spent most of the year playing left guard. Or being a backup if Labatt and Clark were both healthy. At a reported $200,000 a year, that is way too much money to pay an American left guard. Some of that money could pay for a bona fide starting quarterback.

    • George Porge // November 21, 2017 at 5:07 pm //

      Derek Dennis, Shawn Lemon, Mo Price, Eric Rogers, Brett Jones, Jeff Fuller, Brandon Browner..

      The list of players who did well in the Stampeders’ lineup and then moved on to the NFL or to other teams just keeps growing. Hufnagel and company just keep finding good replacements, though. We can add Adeleke, Michel, and Thurman to this year’s list of newcomers who’ve made a difference.

      • Lancaster/Reed // November 22, 2017 at 7:36 am //

        You cant really lay claim to lemon. He was on the winnipeg practice roster first, then played for saskatchewan before he ever joined the stamps.

        • George Porge // November 22, 2017 at 9:24 am //

          Fair point – he is a pretty excellent player nonetheless.

          The bigger point I was making is that one of the big things that I think sets Calgary apart from many other teams is that they are incredibly pragmatic when it comes to dealing with player salaries. Many players demand (and deserve) a higher salary when they have produced. While Calgary will keep an expensive player if they are truly key to their position, we’ve seen time and time again very good players released and then replaced by other good players.

          Derek Dennis was a huge example of this – he was very clear that he wanted to get a huge raise after his incredible seasons with the Stampeders – and nobody should begrudge him that. But with the O-Line players Calgary already has, the team would rather take their chances in the draft and with free agency instead of paying the kind of money Dennis was asking.

          • Lancaster/Reed // November 22, 2017 at 3:49 pm //

            Yes he is an excellent player. My point to wait was that he just didn’t fit into a Chris Jones defense as he was reluctant to drop into coverage as jones has his d line do on occasion.

  16. The biggest dick here other than Sean is Lancaster/Reed!! I guess cheering for an impotent team like Saskatchewan makes you bitter!!!

    • Lancaster/Reed // November 22, 2017 at 12:39 pm //

      The only dicks on here are trolls like donkey and maybe you. What is your team? You say the riders are impotent . How has your team done lately?

      • Love watching you get owned as usual Lancaster
        So easy to get you going and everyone knows it

        • Lancaster/Reed // November 22, 2017 at 2:15 pm //

          Ok donkey. So if I respond to a post I’m getting owned. If you or someone else responds to my post, I’m still getting owned. Got it.

    • George Porge // November 22, 2017 at 3:42 pm //

      Because you’re such a shining example of an upstanding citizen.

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