Riders 20 – Stamps 16
A brief chronology:
December 1, 2009 – Rider Prophet states: “Mark my words: Buy your Edmonton Grey Cup tickets when they go on sale because the Riders will be back there next year.”
April 16, 2010 – Rider Prophet purchases his tickets for Grey Cup, officially putting his money where his mouth is.
June 30, 2010 – Rider Prophet sates in his Official 2010 Prophecies that the Riders will play in the Grey Cup
November 19, 2010 – Rider Prophet predicts the Riders will beat the Stamps in the West Final.
Conclusion: Believe the Prophet!!
Ladies and gentlemen if you can stop shaking with excitement long enough to read this, I will try my best to stop shaking long enough to type it.
We are going back to the Grey Cup!!!!!!
Despite being written off by the so called experts and pundits and facing off against the best team in the league in their home stadium in weather that would likely have halted most seal hunt expeditions… The Riders would not be denied.
In typical Rider fashion we started out by handing our opponents a double digit lead. Not really sure why we feel the need to repeatedly do this but something always seems to click when it happens and the team starts playing their game, taking control and never looking back.
I would like to acknowledge our defense for turning in an absolutely outstanding performance. As a unit they were much maligned throughout the year but when it mattered most they rose to the challenge and played like champions. They completely eliminated one the league’s premiere running attacks, they got consistent pressure against a talent-ladden O-line, they put a strangle hold on an elite group of receivers (leaving Arjei Franklin as the Stamps top receiver) and most importantly they held the held the most potent offensive attack in the league to one solitary TD and allowed only 5 measly points over the final 3 quarters. Absolutely Outstanding!!
In particular, Jerell Freeman played an outstanding game. He racked up 9 tackles (one of which was a thunderous shot to Cornish), 1 big sack and prevented a sure TD by never giving up on a play (more on that display of mental retardation later). I have liked Freeman from day 1 and its nice to see him stepping up when we need it the most.
Offensively, it took a while for them to get going. Durant looked extremely shaky and indecisive in the first quarter. But much like how our team needs a 10 point deficit before they get their head in the game, Durant seems to need to run the ball and take a hit before he calms down and starts playing his game. When Durant took off and ran for the first time (and made Dwight Anderson look like he should be at home playing with his tea set in the process) you knew he was ready to roll.
Our offensive game plan was very well thought out in my opinion. We knew they were going to key on Fantuz and Dressler and we accepted that and exploited them elsewhere. Namely with Chris “The Stampeder Killer” Getzlaf who made the Stamps look like fools for trying to rely on second rate HBs to try and cover him one on one. Not only did we accept Fantuz’s role as a high profile decoy we also exploited it. More than once we kept Fantuz in to block which handcuffed Browner to the line of scrimmage where he could have little to no affect on the play. Really smart move on our part.
Other special mentions go out to:
- Our O-line who gave Durant enough time lay down, have a nap, solve complex quantum physics problems and make waffles on some plays. Calgary has a strong front 7 and while there were a lot of balls batted down, protection wise I thought the hoggies played well.
- Cary Koch who certainly didn’t look like rookie who was playing in only his second playoff game ever.
- Wes Cates. We didn’t run the ball lots but when we did, he got 5 yards guaranteed. And late in the game when we needed to kill the clock he was at his best. +
On both sides of the ball I though the team did a great job of stepping up and making plays when required. Special Teams… well that was a different story.
I hate to harp on negatives at such a joyous time but what an embarrassment this group is. We consistently made life hard on our defense by spotting the Stamps the ball at mid-field every time they were on offense. I’m amazed at how often our D was able to bail us out of those situations. Yet again our return game was non-existent. Our blockers must be on some kind of mind altering drugs since the only people they appear to be blocking are imaginary. And as for Grease-Mullen… I have never sworn so much in my life! What the hell were you doing?!?!? If it weren’t for some lucky bounces and a miracle save by Jerrell Freeman there is a very good chance that someone may have killed Grease-Mullen already… it may have even been me. Look our returns don’t go anywhere any way so why don’t you just save what little mental capacity you have and concentrate only on securing the ball. I can’t believe that someone tasked with the relatively easy job of replacing the perennially embarrassing Dominique Dorsey could somehow manage not to look good by comparison. As a sign of my thanks to Jerrell Freeman for saving the day (and my heart as I was about to have coronary) I offer you a night in a hotel room with my fiancée no questions asked, I’ll even pay for the hotel room.
Special teams aside, I was extremely impressed with the heart and effort displayed by our team yesterday. They refused to give up and succeeded against tremendous adversity as a team. They are truly deserving at a second chance at the Grey Cup and I can’t wait to be there in person to cheer them on… this will be a long, long week.
I’d just like to end by pointing out that John Hufnagel and the Stamps have no one to blame but themselves for the damage caused by their undisciplined play. Hufnagel allowed and even encouraged his team’s cockiness and tendency to push the limits of the rules all season. And low and behold when it mattered most he couldn’t reign in his team and get them to play within the rules. Discipline is a mindset and a culture, not something you can turn on and off as you please. One coach made discipline a priority all year and one did not… it should come as no surprise as to which coach is headed to the Grey Cup and which coach is headed home. You reap what you sow.
It’s amazing how much sweeter victories are when they are over the Stampeders.
Okay that’s enough typing… back to shaking with excitement!!!!