Riders 27 – Stampeders 17
If you are like me, you are still shaking with excitement following last nights win (you are also tired, have a hoarse throat and wish you were currently riding an ostrich). The Riders turned in a tremendous team effort and outplayed the Stamps in every facet of the game. Most notably, our QB played like a champion while their QB… well he played like Henry Burris.
The crowd was outstanding. It was so loud that no one could hear the entrance music and the intensity did not diminish.
The start of the game was eerily similar to last year’s playoff game… defense busting their asses and offense offering no support. Fortunately Durant’s struggles, unlike a certain moronic QB that preceded him, didn’t included a bevy of INTs and were only short lived. The defense did their part to keep things close until the offense could get things going. And once they did, we never looked back.
Our defense was ferocious. There were times when all the Stamps linemen could do was hold us because our pass rush was powering through them. Rey Williams was a beast notching up 10 tackles and 3 sacks. And how about James Patrick? He’s finally being the difference maker at safety we all hoped he could be. I was also impressed at how they were able to limit Reynolds. To be fair, the main way they did so was by flustering Henry Burris and making him try and be a hero and win the game by himself… but hey it worked.
Offensively, you gotta like Durant’s poise. Even when we are trailing he never seems to get flustered. When we weathered that poor start and tied it up before the half you just knew momentum was swinging our way. That momentum was given a giant push in our direction by a huge return to start the second half by Armstead. If it weren’t for the fact that none of our blockers can keep up with him once he gets in the open field. That return and the ensuing Fantuz TD were the TSN turning point (though oddly enough TSN disagreed).
With the energy in the crowd and in the team you just knew we were not going to be denied.
Other random thoughts:
- Our receivers are no longer just good Canadian receivers… they are just plain good receivers.
- I’d be interested to see what Jyles’ conversion rate is on 3rd down. Actually on second thought, I’d be happier not knowing.
- I love seeing the supremely overrated Brandon Browner take an objectionable conduct penalty
- I was hoping that Dwight Anderson would take one too. He came dangerously close to picking up a penalty flag in the first quarter.
- That may have been one of the worst onside kicks in a while. DeAngeles somehow managed to boot it 15 yards farther than he was supposed to (maybe he was just trying to add to his list of “records” by kicking the longest onside kick attempt in playoff history).
- I love how Wes Cates remembered how to run for like 4 plays late in the game (apparently they weren’t lying when they said we were saving him)
- Speaking of saving things, we were evidently also saving a strong 3rd quarter for the playoff run too.
- I feel sorry for any bosses who require productivity from their workers this week.
An outstanding team performance lands the Riders as West Division Champions… well beyond what most people thought they would accomplish this season. There may be better players in the league but I don’t think there is a better team out there. Guess we’ll see come Sunday.
We came to the conclusion last night that the Rider Prophet should be there in person to lead us to the promised land so me and the entire Rider Prophet team will be making the trip this weekend to witness the Grey Cup first hand. We still have some minor travel arrangements to work out such as tickets and accommodation (and if you can help us out on either of those please let me know).
This will be one of the longest weeks in memory, but it will be worth wait for the chance to see the Riders compete for their 2nd Grey Cup in 3 years.