Sunday, November 7, 2010
That's More Like It!
I think we can put behind what was one of the most toxic months in recent Rider history behind us. What a difference a win makes! Hopefully its the start of what will be a memorable November. People are talking positively about the Riders again after a 31-23 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos on Saturday night---a win that eliminates the Eskimos from playoff contention.
It looked a little dicey at the start as the Eskimos were scoring on some time-consuming drives, but the Riders were responding--sort of. The only thing that was stopping the Rider offence was the Rider offence and then some field goal misses made it look worse than it was.
The key to this game was late in the first half when after a 22 yard field goal by Warren Kean, the Rider D made a stand and it allowed Darian Durant to score a touchdown with two seconds left in the half. With the Riders getting the ball to start the second half, they needed another touchdown and they got it. From there, I thought they had control of it.
Yes, Ricky Ray had two costly fumbles and yes, Edmonton played it right out to the last play, but this Rider team looked nothing like the one that had stumbled their way through the last four.
Bring on B.C.
Speaking of the Lions, that was a great effort from them as they beat the Ti-Cats in the dying seconds to beat the Tabbies. Paul McCallum is taking some heat for being the team's MVP this year, but the guy has been their best player this year. He's been money and he's been the league's best kicker. Geroy Simon tweeted during the game last nite that he has Rider Pride and that he had just thrown up inside his mouth a little and while I haven''t seen it, I was told Wally Buono's post-game speech included the phrase "GO RIDERS!". Oh, the final week of the regular season can provide odd bedfellows can't it.
As the Eskimos walked off the field last nite, you could see the tremendous disappointment in their eyes. Some of their guys had tears in their eyes as they walked off the field for the final time. Fred Stamps was one of them, but he was gracious enough to speak to me on the CKRM broadcast along with the other media that came in after I was done. Its got to be hard for someone to sit there and talk about their inability to make the playoff after losing a game they had to win. I watched Ricky Ray walk into the tunnel and I couldn't help but wonder if the next time I see him walk out of the tunnel if he'll be wearing an Eskimos jersey or that of another team. It will be an interesting off-season in Edmonton and it will be one that sadly for Richie Hall will probably see the team get a new head coach. If Eric Tillman turned Richie down twice for the head coaching job in Saskatchewan, I can't see him keeping Richie now. Lets start the rumour mill churning----do the Riders bring Richie back to serve as defensive co-ordinator next year? Gary Etcheverry has faced his fair share of heat this year for the team's inability to stop the run and he has said he has university coaching expectations. If Etcheverry does not come back whether it be his decision or the team's, does the Rider braintrust give Richie a call if he's looking for a job?
If the Eskimos do get a head coach, it won't be Kent Austin despite what John Lynch says. He said on the "Rider roundtable" last night that he had spoken to an Eskimo employee that told him they were going to take a run at Austin. I'm not buying that! Kent is at an Ivy League school where his kids are getting a great education. His program has improved in its first year even though they aren't a powerhouse. (Can you use ivy league and powerhouse in the same sentence when referring to football)He is a guy that has NFL aspirations. His CFL days are done! Talk surfaced once Lynch had made his statement that the Riders outbid Edmonton for his services. I don't want that either. The expectations that would be placed on Austin would be immense and if he didn't it could and would get ugly.
I haven't sat in the stands for a long time seeing I've been watching games from the press box for the past 10 years. While I wasn't in the stands, I did have the opportunity to watch the entire game from field level last night thanks to Rod Pedersen and Willy Cole who asked me to be a part of the broadcast team because Michael Ball was in Calgary with the Rams. Being on the East side, walking up and down the field behind the Edmonton bench and being right at field level was a different experience for yours truly.
While I am sure that those who go know of what I speak, I got goosebumps as I stood across the field and watched the Riders come out with the fans going crazy. It was unreal!! The fans on the East side were absolutely merciless towards Jason Armstead. One of the best comments of the night came when Armstead was standing besides Mo Lloyd. At one point in the 2nd half, a fan was yelling at Lloyd saying "See you next year Mo, you won't be coming back next weekend and you Armstead, we won't see you again because you're getting cut!!". That made a couple of Eskimos laugh.
Seeing the abuse first hand that gets hurled at the opposition only makes me wonder just how bad it is when Calgary and B.C. come to town.
I had no problem with Ken Miller leaving Darian Durant in for the entire game. I thought he could have pulled him in the 4th quarter, but whatever. Of course if Durant got nicked up, Miller's sanity would have been quTestioned, but he rolled the dice and he won.
The Canada West football final won't have a Saskatchewan representative in it. The Rams staged a furious 4th quarter rally, but they lost in Calgary 40-33. As for the U of S Huskies, they performed a great big "GAKKKKKKKKKKK". What a big time choke by the Dogs as they led Alberta 30-3 in the 2nd half and lost 31-30 at home. That one is going to leave a big-time mark.
The time change has hit. NFL games don't come until noon now. My favourite shows are on an hour later. I'm down with that!
NFL upset pick today---Bills over Bears.
If the Vikings should lose to the Cardinals today, Brad Childress will have been fired by the time the Monday nighter hits.