Say what you will about the Saskatchewan Roughriders, they keep it exciting. Paul McCallum broke the hearts of the Rider Nation again, but this time it was for a made field goal. His 42 yarder at the gun gave the B.C Lions a victory in a game that a lot of people thought the Riders had won. I saw Paul outside of the stadium after the game, congratulated him on his kick and thanked him for making our lives difficult this week. He asked what I meant. I responded you know and he just laughed. SIGHHHHH
Just some thoughts on what transpired before you hear the audio from the room..
--Darian Durant struggled on this day despite throwing for 352 yards and once again leading the team down the field for a late score when they absolutely had to have it. Despite throwing for 352, Darian seemed not to be very comfortable in the pocket and I think (although he denied it after the game) that his pinkie finger is bothering him a lot more than what he lets on. The two fumbles Darian had are inexcusable and he knows that. While some days I think the criticism is unfounded, on this day, he has to take his share of it....not all of it, but some of it.
--Fasten your seatbelts, because the West is going to be a battle. There isn't a lot separating Calgary, Saskatchewan and B.C and those teams are going to see a lot of one another down the stretch. This next set of 6 will truly determine who finishes where. The three game losing streak isn't pretty, but those wins that have been banked still have the team sitting in a good position for now.
--I stand by my prediction that it will be a BC-Sask Western final. The Lions have got their act together.
--Injuries aren't an excuse, but for the second week in a row, the game seemingly changed after a Rider injury. Last week against Toronto, the game changed when Kory Sheets went down and this week it seemed to change after Carlos Thomas went down as it meant a further re-shuffling of a back seven that was forced when Weldon Brown had to be scratched before the game because of a knee infection.
--Several were muttering after the game as I headed to my car that this one can be pinned on Richie Hall failing once again to protect a lead. One must admit it is a scenario we have seen before.
--CFL officials continue to embarrass themselves with calls.
1) The roughing the passer call on Buck Pierce in the 2nd quarter was one of the worst calls I have seen. That was a great hard hit by Craig Butler and to penalize him on the play was an abhorrent mistake. I even thought the late roughing the passer on Darian Durant was a little cheezy, but the BC lineman did get his hands to the face which technically is against the law. That rule has to be modified somewhat if not a lot. The protection of the quarterback has gotten wayyyy out of control
2) If Carlos Thomas had an interception taken away last week because he didn't carry it through to the ground, how does the Chris Garrett TD at the end of the first half count. Garrett did not have control of that football when he came to the ground.
I realize it is not easy being a guy in a striped shirt, but these guys aren't helping themselves and either is the command centre in Toronto. Were the guys in the command center watching the NFL or something? It bothers me that a good league can be tarnished by the less than stellar work of its officials. Its something that must be corrected.
--Thoughts are with Regina product Stu Foord who was carted off the field after a huge hit that caused a broken leg. That's not the impact Foord wanted to make as he comes home in another team's uniform.
--I thought the Lions would use a lot more of Andrew Harris. I was surprised they didn't.
--When the Lions came to Regina Saturday, there was a gift inside each players stall. That gift was a bag of Geroy Simon's sour cream chips from Co-op. That's funny! The Lions apparently loved them.
Here's what was being said after the game....
--The Toronto Argonauts are certainly sending signs they aren't going to give up the Grey Cup without a fight. One would argue they are the best team in the CFL right now having gotten back to back road wins in Calgary and Regina. I have said in the past I think the Argos will be at Mosaic to play in Grey Cup 101 and I still believe they will be here. Some are even now suggesting the Argos should protect Zach Collaros and make Ottawa wonder if they want to take on Ricky Ray's contract. Is that a case where the Argos can't lose?
--Who goes from seeing Regina at its elite level to seeing Regina at its slightly less than elite level in a two hour span. This guy!! I co-hosted Sportscage with Rod from the Plaza of Honour Dinner before leaving at 630 and meeting Rob Vanstone for High Impact Wrestling. Yes, you can imagine what scenario I was more comfortable in. I am truly a sad human being at times. While I was graciously offered a ticket by a couple of people to stay at Plaza, I politely declined. I should have stayed, but I didn't want to be a last minute attendee sitting at a table where I may not have known anyone.
--How about the story Rider plaza inductee Eddie Davis told on the Cage Friday. Eddie thought he would be going to the NFL so he tossed aside some envelopes from the Baltimore Stallions and Birmingham Barracudas. Once he realized he wasn't going to get his NFL shot, he grabbed the envelopes that he had pushed aside and opened them to see a contract in both with Roy Shivers signature on one and Jim Popp's the other. He chose Birmingham. Why? Davis says its because he's right handed and that's the hand the Birmingham contract was on when he phoned his agent. How would Eddie's career have changed if he had gone to Baltimore? I'm guessing he'd have never ever ended up in Regina.
--An apology to TSN's Chris Cuthbert. Chris came looking for me Saturday saying with a grin on his face "I've got a bone to pick with you. I had said after the Labour Day Classic the Riders were unbeaten when Rod Black did play by play on TSN. Chris informed that me all three crews have now done a Rider loss as he, Rod (who did do the game in Calgary that I thought Chris had done) and Gord Miller have been behind the mike for Rider losses. Sorry Chris!! Me bad!!! You can't have the best damn sports guy in Canada "mad" at you. I should have told him to get his blog going again. He must read this blog so Chris, get your blog going again!!!
-- To the NFL and the Giants and Steelrs are both 0-3 while the Dolphins are 3-0?
--The 49ers are 1-2 while the New York Jets are 2-1-- I LOVE IT
--Marc Trestman's Chicago Beara are 3-0. I truly believe if Trestman has success in the NFL that other teams may look north to fill coaching positions.
--The Seahawks are 3-0 and that is truly all that matters!
--Cincinnati Bengals fans did not like the fact they were using Katy Perry's new song "ROAR" inside their stadium so much and went to social media to get them to scrap the song or at least not play it as much. One can only hope a social media campaign would start here asking the Riders to remove "Last Saskatchewan Pirate" as the 3rd quarter stretch song. I HATE THAT SONG!!! Yes, I know many others disagree.
--The Jon Jones-Alexander Gustaffson fight Saturday was the best UFC bout I think I have seen. It was incredible.
--If the University of Regina Rams had a running game, they would be contenders in Canada West. Cayman Shutter tries to do it all by throwing and he just about succeeds. If he had a running game to compliment what he does in the air, the Rams would have a solid chance at a conference title. They ran the ball six times in a loss to UBC on Saturday night.
--It was weird watching ESPN's College Gameday from Fargo, North Dakota. The main crew were in Fargo to preview a game between North Dakota State and Delaware State. I have no idea why.
--Colby Rasmus is trotting out to centre field Friday night when a ball thrown by Anthony Gose hits the unsuspecting Rasmus right between the eyes. His season is now done. Does that just not somehow symbolically sum up Toronto's season?
--Tim Thomas is trying to resume his NHL career with the Florida Panthers. I see Thomas being on a Cup contender at the trade deadline if everything works and I could see him ending up with the Penguins or dare I say it the Flyers.
--The Arizona Diamondbacks are whining because the L-A Dodgers won the NL West pennant on their field and then celebrated by using the pool that sits behind the right-center field fence at Chase Field. Suck it up boys. The statements coming from the Diamondbacks made me think they were going to get their bat and ball and go home to tell Mom. Talk about being a little childish.
--One last thing. Great job by CTV Regina's new sports guy Darrell Romuld. Darrell got a little creative Saturday night in doing his Rams highlights. Take a watch
This is a Regina sports blog with a focus on everything going on in the world of sports and whatever else interests me. I'm a freelance Regina sportscaster who is never afraid to let his views on sports be known, and is never afraid to cheer on Regina's teams because they are a major part of the fabric that makes Regina the great city it is.