First off this week, I finally got around to uploading the last couple videos from Calgary. You can check them out here:
Pre-game Interview with Guy from Ponteix
Now down to business...
Friday the Riders got their 12th win of the season with a 36-29 overtime win in Edmonton. In doing so they also officially eliminated the Eskimos from the playoffs. I've never been so embarrassed to win a game. We were outplayed for the majority of the game and only managed to win because of a penalty that negated a Fleming game wining field goal.
That said, watching the "storybook ending" field goal sail straight through the uprights with virtually no time left on the clock followed by the Eskimos celebrating what seemed to be a season-saving win, only to have the kick called back on a holding penalty was one of my high points for the 2007 season. Just throwing that out there.
17 games into the season and our defense still apparently has no clue what a crossing route is or how to defend it. Message to Richie Hall: if you have a weakness that is so obvious even Danny Maccioccia can pick up on it, you are in a lot of trouble.
In addition to a poor defensive performance, we were subjected to watching Mike Washington play like he had soaked his hands in astroglide before the game. He somewhat redeemed himself by scoring the game tying TD but up until that play I thought that Jason French had snuck back onto the team somehow. Sadly, given that he's still a starter it tells you a bit about how much worse Hill and Marshall must be.
There were a few bright spots in the game though. Congrats go out to Neal Hughes for recovering a fumble during a kick return and punching in his first CFL TD; Stancil and Chick for combining for the play of the game (You'd think by now Edmonton would pay extra attention to an LB blitz but apparently not); and Michael Palmer for having a huge game at receiver. I find it a bit ironic that all season the Argos have been snatching up rejected receivers like Mitchell and Boerigter and the one guy they let go turns out to have talent.
The whole controversial holding call aside, the fact that the Eskimos could not hold on to a big lead in the 4th quarter while playing our back-ups is the exact reason why they deserve to miss the playoffs. When you allow 5 TDs from household names such as Childs, Washington, Hughes and Chick, maybe questionable reffing has nothing to do with you missing the playoffs (again). Danny Maccioccia better start working on his resume because he will likely need to use it this off-season. You're probably asking yourself who in their right mind would hire someone who has a track record of running a championship team into the ground? Well sources say that Jim Popp is very interested in as he sees him as the perfect fit in Montreal.
Tickets for the West Semi Final went on sale to the general public this morning and disappeared faster than Britney Spears' dignity. Within 25 minutes it was sold out! The last time Saskatchewan ticket buyers reacted this quickly to an event at Mosaic Stadium was when the Rolling Stones came to town. So what do a Stones Saskatchewan concert tour and a Saskatchewan Roughriders home playoff game have in common? I know you're expecting the obvious "we might have to wait 20 years before we see either again", but I'll leave that up to the lesser bloggers. The truth is, I think that on some level the Saskatchewan fan base appreciates the fact that whether our guest is Mick Jagger or the Calgary Stampeders defense, there's a decent chance you're going to see somebody score over 60.
Finally, there was a lot of talk this week about Michael Bishop and how he's 10-1 as a starter and an all-star caliber QB. Umm... am I missing something? Among starting QBs he has the worst completion %, the worst QB rating and is 3rd in the league in interceptions despite not playing in every game. He is the equivalent of Rex Grossman last year... a mediocre QB with a defense that carries the team and hides his shortcomings. I predict a Grossman-like fate for Bishop: defense choking in the championship game leaving him to carry the team, and before to long he will be replaced with a much older QB… Paging Damon Allen.
Well that's it for now. This is the Rider Prophet saying: don't worry if you didn't get playoff tickets today. As history will show we are a mere 19 years away from the next one. (Turns out I reduced myself to that after all.)