Saskatchewan Roughriders kicker Tyler Crapigna summed up his team’s 43-40 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday with two words.
The game has been especially cruel to the Riders kicker the first two games of the 2017 regular season.
For the second consecutive week, Crapigna had an opportunity to put his team in the lead late in the game. A week ago in Montreal, he saw his potential game-winning field goal sail wide as time expired. The Alouettes prevailed 17-16.
On Saturday on his home turf, Crapigna heard his 33-yard field-goal attempt slam into the upright and drop short. It was the clank heard around the province and one that deflated the sellout crowd of 33,350 at Mosaic Stadium.
“Just unlucky,” said a frustrated Crapigna, his team falling to 0-2.
“I’m pretty sure you saw (the ball) hit the post. That’s what happened. It felt good, hit the top of the post, so obviously it wasn’t a (bad) kick. It hit the post.”
The miss set the stage for Winnipeg’s Justin Medlock. His 29-yard field goal just minutes later proved to be the winning points for the Blue Bombers (1-0). Medlock was 5-for-5 in field goal attempts.
“They were up early, we were up later. Both teams made good comebacks to get back into the game. Luckily, we made one more play at the end than they did,” said Blue Bombers slotback Weston Dressler.
Prior to that miss, Crapigna was 4-for-4 in field goal attempts in the game.
“(Crapigna) missing that kick doesn’t mean we hang this loss on him,” said the Riders’ Caleb Holley. “We had things that we could have done better so he wouldn’t have to be in that position to make that kick.
“We’re still with him. I’ll stand behind him to make that kick every time. But that (miss) is what happens sometimes. It’s football.”
Quarterback Kevin Glenn rallied the Roughriders from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to set the stage for overtime.
The teams were tied 37-37 at the end of regulation.
Trailing 37-23 early in the fourth quarter, Glenn hooked up with Nic Demski (27 yards) and Naaman Roosevelt (15 yards). The second touchdown evened the score at 37-37 with less than two minutes remaining.
Glenn finished the night with 377 yards passing and four touchdowns. His counterpart, Matt Nichols, was equally impressive with 331 passing yards and four touchdowns.
Nichols, however, felt his offence lacked a killer instinct that could have ruined hopes of a Roughriders rally.
“It’s a roller-coaster ride, but at the same time I don’t feel like we did our job as an offence,” Nichols said. “We’re up 14 and we need to go down the field and at least kick another field goal and go up 17. We didn’t get that job done.”
Winnipeg trailed 17-13 at the half, but erupted for 21 points in the third quarter to take a 34-23 lead.
Dressler’s two touchdowns – one for 87 yards and the other for nine yards – came 35 seconds apart in the opening minutes after halftime. The former Riders star receiver racked up 124 receiving yards. Dressler’s second touchdown put the visitors ahead 27-17.
After a field goal from Crapigna, the Blue Bombers responded with their third touchdown of the quarter, a 35-yard strike from Nichols to L’Damien Washington, to restore a two-touchdown lead at 34-20.
“We could have come into halftime feeling sorry for ourselves and not responded,” Nichols said. “We did come out and we did respond and put up points and it seemed like they were coming in bunches. I think that just speaks to the kind of team that we have.”
Roughriders head coach Chris Jones wasn’t impressed with his team’s defensive effort, especially in the third quarter.
“We can play good defence some of the time, but we need to learn how to play good defence all the time,” Jones said.
Saskatchewan built a 17-3 lead in the first half thanks to a pair of touchdown passes from Glenn to Holley (18 yards) and Bakari Grant (10 yards). Demski led all Roughriders with seven receptions for 82 yards. Holley caught five passes for 74 yards.
A 31-yard touchdown strike to Darvin Adams, followed by a Sam Hurl interception seemed to spark the Blue Bombers late in the half.
Medlock kicked a 17-yard field goal to close out the first half, with Winnipeg trailing 17-13.
In Week 3, Winnipeg will host the Calgary Stampeders, while the Riders will welcome the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to Regina.