Did the Riders deserve to win this game? After three quarters, the answer was no, but the final 15 minutes was something. Brandon Bridge and Kevin Glenn had looked less than stellar, but Air Canada got it going in the 4th and with the help of Jones' big punt return, the Riders had a chance to win. They should have won. All the defence that had shut down Ray and the Toronto offence all day was make one more stop. It didn't happen. It even came down to one 3rd and 5, but Ray placed it perfectly into the hands of James Wilder Junior. From there, you knew what was coming.
Where, and how do you dissect this one. Offensively, the team did not play well for three quarters, but give Toronto's D credit for that. The Riders defence was incredible, but it wasn't enough. The fact there was no roughing the passer call on the Toronto pick six was baffling seeing Kevin Glenn took a clothesline to the head, but whatever. At the end of the day, Toronto did what they had to and the Riders didn't. If you are going to criticize Tyler Crapigna for missing the field goal in Montreal that cost them the season-opener, you have to criticize the defence for not making the stop in the final two minutes in the season finale.
What can't be debated is the future of this Rider team. A 5 win improvement from Chris Jones' 1st year to his 2nd. The development of what is a solid nucleus and group for 2018. The three-year plan is working. That doesn't translate to a Grey Cup berth or championship, but the fact is this team is once again a contender for the championship. Chris Jones is delivering on his promise.
--As I type this, I am still trying to make sense of what was a huge brain cramp by Jason Maas. I am still trying to wrap my head around what he did. Kicking a field goal when down by 7 with less than two to play when the ball is at the Calgary 13 takes over as the dumbest play call since Pete Carroll called for a pass at the one yard line instead of giving the ball to Marshawn Lynch. The explanation was even baffling. It is inexplicable.
--It leaves us with a Calgary-Toronto Grey Cup. Yes, the Argos that won 3 games last year have a chance to go from worst to first. I am guessing Calgary will be favoured by 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 points. Are you betting against Marc Trestman.
--Speaking of dumb football decisions, I wonder how Buffalo Bills fans are feeling this morning. The decision to bench Tyrod Taylor for Nathan Peterman simply blew up in Head Coach Sean McDermott's face. Peterman threw 5 INTs in that first half sparking McDermott to say after the game he will "evaluate" his starting quarterback situation. Thanks Tips!
--Seeing Dallas get throttled at home is always a good thing.
--The Packers desperately need Aaron Rodgers back
--The Rams aren't the team they think they are yet
--The Giants beat the Chiefs?
--Back to the CFL, and the league needs more Duron Carter's. Whatever he does and wherever he goes, he is the show! His movie stunt with Rider Nation got as much attention in Toronto as the lead-up to the game. While I would not endorse this, one can only wonder how much publicity he would give for the Argos and the CFL if he was playing for the double blue.
--While I have harped on the fact the CFL needs to change when it comes to playoffs, so does USports Canada. Those who read this blog know I love University sports and University Football. I believe there should be a lot more of it on Canadian TV, but instead I get stuff on both networks and the CBC that make me shake my head.
When the chance arises to get a University football game on Canadian television, Western throttles Acadia 81-3 in a national semi-final. 81-3!! While it wasn't fair to expect a lot of Acadia after the Loney Bowl fiasco and the fact they had just played Tuesday, we expected more than this. It was embarassing! Who would want to watch that! Who is kidding who, the 2-6 U of S Huskies would have given Western a better battle and so would other Canada West teams like the Rams, UBC and Alberta. Yes, let's throw Manitoba into that mix too and we know Calgary would since they were conference champs. How do you fix it though?
Sportsnet's Arash Madani suggested six teams be involved in the national playoffs on the Sportscage last week. Jim Mullin's seemingly dead Northern 8 proposal, which is a regular season initiative and not a playof one, is one that could be revived and perhaps tweaked. Whatever it is, USports was embarassed as a whole because of what happened at the Uteck Bowl. This needs to be the impetus for change!
--Leafs fans that took it for years from Habs fans have to be feeling good these days. What a beatdown that was Saturday in Montreal. WOW!!
--Back to the NFL, what did you think of last Thursday's game where the view we got was like watching a Madden game. I wasn't big on it, and I think the general consensus is it wasn't great. Playing a video game is one thing, but watching a real game is another. The depth perception was tough as you had a hard time determining how many yards had been gained. At some point, I am sure we will have the capability to watch from any angle that we want. I'll stay to the angle I am used to while I can.
--The sports world would be a better place without Lavar Ball.
--That's all I got. Have a great week!