Riders 18 – Als 21
The trip home yesterday was a somber one… well except for when we stopped at McDonalds and Media Consultant was denied service because he wanted lunch food at 10:55am and the lunch menu didn’t start until 11:00am. We also saw a guy who looked exactly like Gimli from Lord of the Rings. But other than that and more to the point of my story… it was a somber trip.
For the second year in a row, I was in the stands to witness the Riders come up short in their bid to bring home this franchise’s 4th Grey Cup.
If you had told me before the game that we would have the lead at half time, I would have put my 2007 Grey Cup Whiskey on ice because I would have been sure that I would sipping on it later (well maybe not sipping).
If you had told me before the game that we were going to hold Anthony Calvillo and the potent Alouette offense to 2 TDs I would have placed my order ahead of time for Riders Grey Cup Champs 2010 merchandise.
If you had told me before the game that Marc Parenteau was going to account for half our TDs… I would have laughed in your face.
For me, analyzing the outcome of the game is as simple as this. In order to win you need 2 of your 3 phases to perform well. Given that our special teams never performs well (or anything that even resembles well), that means that our offense and defense by default both need to play well. Our defense played extremely well on Sunday… unfortunately our offense did not. You simply can’t beat an elite team like the Als with only one phase of your game working… it’s really that simple.
For the second week in a row I was floored by how well our defense played. Limiting Calvillo to 2 TDs is quite an accomplishment. Jerrell Freeman was yet again an absolute monster. The only thing that would have made his performance better is if he had secured that pick he almost had. We got pressure on Calvillo (which is not easy to do) thanks in large part to the play of Shologan and Chunky. Our defense was the only reason that game was remotely close. Hats off to them. My only knock on our defense is that we have an obvious weakness at both cornerback spots. Not surprisingly a future hall of famer like AC was able to exploit it.
By contrast, I was floored by how flat our offense was. Our passing attack which has been our strength this season, turned in a bad performance at the worst possible time. I'm not sure if it was our play calling or Durant just struggling (likely some combination thereof) but our passing attack was non existent. Untimely drops by Getzlaf only compounded our struggles. Cates ran like a champion but with no passing attack to balance it, it was mostly for naught in the end.
And that was pretty much it in the end. No passing game, no championships. Sucks to say but unlike last year where I thought we were the better team, the better team won this year.
Other random thoughts:
- Did anyone else get flashbacks to '07 on that one Fantuz run where he refused to go down?
- Did anyone else get flashbacks to Brett Favre on that game ending Durant INT?
- Leron Mitchell's broken leg was one of the most gruesome things I have ever seen in football
- I am quickly developing an appreciation for Rider fans that endured the early 70s.And this ends another great season of Rider football. Though I'm sure players and fans alike are disappointed at not winning the Cup, I think you'll still have to be happy with the season. Not many teams could overcome losing half their coaching staff, 2 all-star DEs, one of the best DBs in franchise history, and their starting MLB all at once and still repeat as West Division Champs... especially after the heartbreaking way last year ended. It's truly an amazing accomplishment I applaud the team for their effort, their heart and their resiliency and congratulate them on another great season.
We have an outstanding team in our province and we are very proud of them.
Ending aside, I have great memories of Grey Cup 2010 from the great parties, to the BC fan who accosted us in our hotel room that we are pretty sure had rabies, to Media Consultant making Ricky Santos pout like a little girl because he didn't know who Santos was when he was met him at casino. Good times were had by all... though given that the Riders are now 0-2 in Grey Cups I attend, I think it would be best if I stay home next year