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Monday, November 20, 2017

CFL EAST FINAL: TORONTO 25 SASKATCHEWAN 21


TORONTO - It was vintage Ricky Ray.

After struggling for three-plus quarters, Ray rallied Toronto to a wild 25-21 East Division victory over Saskatchewan on Sunday afternoon. With the Argonauts trailing 21-18 and going against a stiff 54 kilometre-an-hour wind, Ray marched his offence 67 yards to the Roughriders' one-yard line, setting up Cody Fajardo's winning one-yard TD run with 23 seconds left.

"To be put in that situation and see the guys go out and execute really well ... and go down and score, it feels awesome right now,'' Ray said. ``It feels really awesome.

"They (game-winning drives) are all special but just being in this moment right now, man, with everything that was on the line, this one feels pretty good.''

Ray kept the drive alive with a clutch 22-yard completion to running back James Wilder Jr. on a third-and-five gamble. That put Toronto at the Saskatchewan 18 with 1:08 remaining.

"We got great coverage, he ran a great route and made a big catch to keep that drive going,'' Ray said.

Saskatchewan's defence had done well to that point containing Ray, who finished 28-of-39 passing for 266 yards with a TD and interception. Christion Jones put the Riders ahead 19-18 with 2:45 remaining with a 79-yard punt return touchdown before Canadian Brandon Bridge hit Duron Carter on the two-point convert.

"It's tough when you lose a ballgame of this magnitude but on top of that when you play good defence all day and it's right there when you need it and you just can't get a stop,'' Saskatchewan head coach/GM Chris Jones said. "We got some shots on (Ray) but he's a tough guy, he got right back up and made the play when he needed to.

"Yeah, he made a perfect throw there to Wilder when he had to have it. That's vintage Ricky Ray.''

Christion Jones, despite registering the game's biggest play to that point, admitted he didn't feel comfortable when Toronto took possession.

"You get a guy like Ricky Ray and those great receivers and that great running back (Wilder) and they'll make you sweat,'' he said. "They executed and did what they needed to do.

"We didn't.''

Toronto cemented the win when Akwasi Owusu-Ansah recovered Carter's attempted lateral. The Argos return to the Grey Cup for the first time since winning in 2012 and will face the Calgary Stampeders on Sunday at Ottawa's TD Place.

Both offences struggled, committing a combined seven turnovers (four interceptions, two fumbles, once on downs). But Toronto was opportunistic, scoring 17 points off the Riders' miscues, delighting the enthusiastic gathering of 24,929, the Argos' largest crowd ever at BMO Field.

Among those attending were Toronto Maple Leafs forwards Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner and head coach Mike Babcock, who donned his Riders' apparel sitting next to Argos owner Larry Tanenbaum, who's also the chairman of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Leafs.

"We didn't do much offensively until the last drive of the game,'' Toronto head coach Marc Trestman said. "We did enough to win.

"We've had a number of end-the-game drives whether we've won or lost. Vintage Ricky Ray. You can put quotes around anything you want. He's the guy who's driven this whole thing through the whole year.''

It's certainly been a turnaround year for Toronto after missing the playoffs in 2016 with a 5-13 mark. GM Jim Barker was fired before head coach Scott Milanovich resigned to join the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars.

On Feb. 28, Toronto hired Jim Popp as GM and Trestman as head coach. The two had worked together in Montreal, leading the Alouettes to three Grey Cup appearances (two wins) from 2007-12 before Trestman left to became head coach of the NFL's Chicago Bears.

Ray's future in Toronto was also in question after injuries had limited him to 12 regular-season appearances over the previous two years. When Trestman was hired, he boldly named Ray his starter.

Ray certainly fulfilled that confidence. He started 17 regular-season games and surpassed the 5,000-yard passing mark for the first time since '08 and fourth time overall, joining Hall of Famers Anthony Calvillo and Doug Flutie as the only players to do so.

That earned Ray his third nomination as a finalist for the CFL's outstanding player award against Edmonton's Mike Reilly. It's one of the few awards Ray, a three-time Grey Cup champion, hasn't won over his illustrious 15-year career in Canada.

Saskatchewan was attempting to become the first crossover team to reach the Grey Cup since the rule was adopted in 1996. The Riders were 2-0 versus Toronto this year and defeated the defending-champion Ottawa Redblacks 31-20 in last weekend's East Division semifinal.

Saskatchewan won the toss and deferred, opting to have the wind in the fourth. And it almost paid off as when the Riders got the ball with 12 minutes left at their 17-yard line, they trailed 18-3.

Bridge of Mississauga, Ont., cut the deficit to 18-10, finding Carter on an 11-yard TD pass at 5:57, the first playoff touchdown pass by a Canadian since Ottawa's Russ Jackson did so in the '69 Grey Cup game. Saskatchewan pulled to within 18-13 on Tyler Crapigna's 28-yard field goal with 4:44 remaining before going ahead on Jones' TD. Bridge then hit Naaman Roosevelt for the two-point convert and three-point lead.

It was a disappointing end to the season for Saskatchewan starter Kevin Glenn, a 17-year veteran still in search of his first Grey Cup victory. Glenn threw three first-half interceptions - one that was returned for a TD - before being replaced for good to start the second half by Bridge.

Terrance Plummer, on a 39-yard interception return, and DeVier Posey had Toronto's other touchdowns. Lirim Hajrullahu added the converts and two field goals.

Crapigna booted two field goals and a convert.

(The Canadian Press)

POSTGAME COMMENTS FROM CHRIS JONES

- We talked about it. There's a group of high character guys in there who've worked their butts off to get to this point. Certainly it's disappointing to come out on the losing end of a game that was that close. To not be able to finish it off, you get a pit in your stomach knowing you won't have a chance to play for a championship. It's very tough.

- I'm very proud of this group. I just told them that. Nobody gave us a chance after Week 4. They wanted to run the coaches out of town and nobody believed in the club and were saying bad things. But we leaned on each other and learned how to win football games.

- I went ahead and scheduled camps for the week after the Grey Cup to get started. Whether we won or lost this game, it had no bearing. We have to go back to the grindstone and find players.

RP
@rodpedersen

81 comments:

John Knight said...

I cannot believe how shitty the officiating is. First they don't call a head shot that results in an interception and a touchdown then the TORONTO review panel still doesn't call it. Then later, Riders are called for roughing on a tackle that resulted in a first down. These officials should never work again in a Toronto game and the command center is even worse. Looks like a homer group of officiating to make sure T.O. gets to the grey cup and prevent a crossover.

Anonymous said...

Lol love the whining about the refs from rod,luc. Clark should have been kicked out of the game for the hit on woods.

Anonymous said...

Is Glen Johnson, the Rider hater, in charge of video review today.
If so, we should protest the game for that non-roughing the passer call that he didn’t reverse.

Anonymous said...

I truly hope all of you boneheads who were so sure Brandon Bridge was a good quarterback can watch this game and face reality. Glenn is done and Bridge is terrible.

Anonymous said...

After watching Glenn and Bridge today, I am already looking forward to the Franklin signing in February.

Anonymous said...

The stupidest Rider play ever at the end of the game...really??

Anonymous said...

Critical coaching error. The field goal was always going to be pointless

Anonymous said...

So clearly, Glenn is the starter next season.

Anonymous said...

They win the game if they would have kept Bridge in after the first Kevin Glenn pull. No doubt in my mind. Sad, sad missed opportunity.

Chris said...

fire the OC, however you pronounce his name, he screwed us in the first half with his ridiculous play calling

Anonymous said...

Will it be Bridge, Franklin, or Collaras in 2018? That is the question.

Randolph Charles said...

A gutsy comeback falls short. They gave it all they had, and almost pulled it off. Too bad the offense didn't fire on all cylinders in the first half

Anonymous said...

Wonderful thing will be if Rick Ray can beat the Eskimos for a Grey Cup, then he will retire. The only downside will be that the Argos will be all-in with Bridge next year. Anyways, Good Luck Argos!

Anonymous said...

As expected. Now we can watch Canada's team, the Edmonton Eskimos. I've seen enough INTs to last a lifetime.

Anonymous said...

The ONE player the Riders need to better the future is the starting QB of the future starting the day of free-agency. The next big-time talent is James Franklin who can best utilize the Riders excellent receiving crew. Also, Demski needs to get healthy and be ready to take over as every down Canadian receiver when Rob Bagg decides he is ready to retire.

Anonymous said...

The only way I cheer for the shmoes is if they play North Korea for the Grey Cup

JackD83 said...

Not the refs fault.

Anonymous said...

In regards to the roughing the passer non-call, I think they're trying to get away from the mickey mouse league persona. The guy was obviously trying to block the pass and barely bumped Glenn in the process. Roughing the passer is meant to reduce concussions and head hunting hits, not accidentally bumping someone just like having a pinky rub someone's arm is no longer considered pass interference like it was 2 years ago. It was a GOOD non-call. I don't care
about the letter of the law, use some discretion.

Anonymous said...

It's the Inuit, that's Inuit. At least please be politically correct.

Anonymous said...

Why? Are people blaming the refs ? It was the interceptions that made the difference. Plus changing the quarterbacks so many times.
And what a stupid play at the end of the game.

Anonymous said...

Disappointed but it was a great year. Looking forward to the next season and free agency. Who will be back and who will be the QB.
Dave in the Hat

Anonymous said...

Now it is time to get rid of jones and crew and get someone in there who knows what they are doing and do not depend on luck. Oy yes and then maybe the riders will get a decent recruitment group in as well. Jones has found no one except other teams cast offs because they found someone better. Time to move on for the coaches.

Anonymous said...

Sask sucked. Argos sucked less

Anonymous said...

Waiting for the annual conspiracy theory. Oh wait, it's already here.

Anonymous said...

no defensive pass rush for first 45 min and no momentum. great pass rush for first 12 min of 4th quarter and get 10 toronto 2 and outs, take the offensive momentum and the lead. no pass rush last 3 min and let Ray march down the field. why the change in strategy? prevent defence sucks!

Anonymous said...

What makes you think the shmoes will be in the cup game? If there had been any kind of half assed refs, Riders would have be in the cup game

Anonymous said...

Chamblin 1- McAdoo 0

Evan Wiome said...

Grow up gentlemen. Bradbury didn't play defence for the Riders on the last Argo drive. Lose with some class.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy, Jones didn't win.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Jones, Mr. Murphy for bringing the Saskatchewan Roughriders Football franchise back to respectability after being on the cusp of destruction. Thank one and all players who contributed 2017. Go Roughriders 2018.

Pal Opll

Anonymous said...

Glenn had 17 years to avoid 3 INT's in a game including his patented pick 6, but clearly has not learned anything. Asking a team to survive 3 INT's is like asking a hockey team to win in spite of a leaky goalie.

Anonymous said...

2018 - Edmonton Excalibur

Anonymous said...

Seriously dude? Are you really that ignorant?

Anonymous said...

Agreed.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree.

Anonymous said...

There's more than enough talent on this team. Give Bridge the ball next year; otherwise how's he going to get better. Glenn got the ball and regressed. Time and time again Bridge fires TD's while Glenn served up INT's and pick 6's. Why afford Glenn the patience but not Bridge?

Anonymous said...

Rod "they're all against us" Pedersen

Anonymous said...

Where is the cocky Eskimos fan now? Awfully quiet ya mouthpiece

Anonymous said...

Oops, Stamps win! Stamps win! Now you can watch the Stamps. Canada's team.

Anonymous said...

did anyone notice all the empty seats at the dump McMahon with the stamps playing in the west final. It is a shame when a city that size cannot fill sliver riddled seats in that dump of a stadium. You have your first place team playing to go to the Coupe de Grey and we see that many empty seats in all of the corners of the stadium. I guess no one cares about the stumps is the answer to that one.

Anonymous said...

“ALL IN”. Now that’s a slogan Calgary Stamps!!! Not a stupid one like BE13VE........

Morgan said...

Haha! you're a complete fool if you think that.

Morgan said...

You need to read the definition of the rule in the rule book my friend. You're out to lunch

Morgan said...

Oh those mighty Eskimos certainly weren't mighty today were they? Done son!!!

Anonymous said...

How is that Eskimo loss workin put for you troll???

Anonymous said...

It was a great year. Nobody can seriously say they expected our Riders to be in a division final in year two of a complete rebuild. Chris Jones and his staff have for sure made us a better football team. We will still be on the rise next year because at least we have a core of solid players on both sides of the ball in place. Also, free agency will be most interesting. I am sure we will secure some of our own key pieces before mid-February and pluck a key player or two away from other teams. Getting a home playoff game next year would really help our chances in the playoffs as well. Never easy winning two tough games on the road no matter who you play.

Aaron Anderson

Anonymous said...

The refs were proper in both games...that was not a head shot on glenn..a little late yes but not as bad as you make it. Coaches made mistakes in the losses and both deserve to be targeted for it. See the Glenn discussion is again there...here is my response, what is being given up for Franklin in a trade because the Eskimos are for sure trading him before free agency.

Anonymous said...

UP YEAR! Every fan from the rest of the CFL says thanks the Argos. Now it can be about the Grey Cup and not a week long Rider party!

Anonymous said...

Great season boys, now sign Franklin and I can't wait until next seasons home opener!

B-nana said...

This is such ridiculous nonsense that it must be a troll.

Anonymous said...

Proposed x-files episode.... Mulder and Scully uncover the collaboration between aliens and the cfl, in fixing the eastern final in favour of the Argos.

Anonymous said...

You talking about the Eskimo game?

Anonymous said...

Alex Jones says he's got the documents proving that the league fixed the game for the Argos

Anonymous said...

At least there are no crackpot conspiracy theories behind their loss.

Anonymous said...

“ALL IN”. Now that’s a slogan Calgary Stamps!!!


Is that in reference to their own horse manure?

Anonymous said...

Chris Jones can phone the Eskimos tomorrow and send a 7th round pick to start the negotiations with James Franklin.

Anonymous said...

Hey at least the Eskies fans can cheer for the 2nd last place Oilers in the entire NHL now and the #1 Pick in Draft next June.

B-nana said...

Amen.

Lyle Pederson said...

Quit fighting kids. Brandon Bridge has more raw talent than I have seen in a long time. Add experience and you have a starter hands down! Thank you Riders for more than I expected this year. Thanks Rod for all your work and especially your passion.

Anonymous said...

We didn't lose the game on the last series of plays. We lost it on a series of plays in the 1st half primarily.
*Three inexcusable interceptions and poor performance by Glenn. Who didn't see that coming?
*A late illegal hit by Clark after the play was whistled dead.
*An illegal (totally needless) take down tackle by Jeff Knox Jr that kept a drive alive that lead to a TD
*A total break down of discipline and penalties that guys took to satisfy themselves but hurt the team.

There should have been a call on the Glenn hit but there wasn't. You were playing in Toronto for God's sake. The interception was thrown well before the infraction. The real question is why was that ball thrown. Even if he had eaten it we would have been better off. Then he overthrows his receiver for another Int. Then he throws an Int into the flat where there wasn't a green jersey in sight and he was looking right at the TO player. Unforgivable. But not surprising being that has been his history his whole career. Even after the pick 6, we were only down 7-3 and Toronto wasn't really moving the ball on us. WE could easily overcome that. Then the lack of discipline and failing to control emotions came in. After the dust up Toronto coaches got heir guys together and were reading them the riot act. The Riders didn't. They Argos didn't take any me penalties and we took plenty. 17 points on turnovers was what sunk us in the end. Did we get jobbed a little…there is no doubt…but we could have still overcome and won had we a QB who could secure the ball and players with more self discipline.

Scott Thompson said...

Dissapointing loss, but a big congrats to the boys on a season well played. We were so close. With a good core group in place we are on our way! Me expectation were met this year, can’t wait for 2018! Go Riders!!!

Lewis Grant said...


1. Reffing was bad in the first half but we did get a couple of calls our way later on. I'm not going to blame this on the refs when KG threw three picks. That's 10 points right there. If our O hadn't been terrible in the first 40 minutes, we probably would have won.

2. I was impressed with our D. They contained Ray and Wilder for most of the game. If you take away the 10 points gifted to the Argos, the D only gave up 15 points.

3. I like Bridge's potential, although he still has plenty to learn. I hope we see more of him, but let's not anoint him the franchise saviour just yet.

4. Jones has brought the Riders back to respectability. For that I will give him credit. His job now is to get us beyond the Danny Barrett level of respectability and attain the Kent Austin/Ken Miller level of strength. Overall, the momentum is positive.

It's gut-wrenching to lose the way we did. But tomorrow, I think we'll be able to look back on a positive season.

Anonymous said...

Typical Stamps. Copying the 2013 Rider slogan.

And I'll tell you another thing, I am sure looking forward too watching the Stumps choke again in the Grey Cup. I find that very enjoyable.

william weppler said...

How many games has "the saviour" Franklin actually started and won in the CFL?

Anonymous said...

Skatcewen Ruffriders........2017 non-Grey cup chumps!!!

Anonymous said...

BE13VE LOL

Anonymous said...

Well, it may be a "stupid" slogan but it is working cuz you remember it. Guess it's not that stupid is it.

Anonymous said...

Where's that toothless Mountain Dew drink swigging oxy popping Sask redneck hillbilly who thought up that lame slogan BE13VE now? Blame him for this loss with his stupid reference to 13. Really!

Anonymous said...

Conspiracy theory? Let's see. Leading with 2 minutes to go, Jones can't stop Ricky Ray from marching down & scoring the winning TD. Was Jones bribed to blow the game by the CFL command? Couldn't they just have called back the TD return on some lame call rather than chance Ray winning the game? Didn't the putrid play of both Glenn & Bridge have ANY influence on the outcome? When you combine to complete 17 of 34 passes & have a miniscule QB rating between the 2 of you, you're not going to win too many games. Already you're praying for Franklin. Like everything else Rider Nation thinks they have in the bag, crossing over to the Grey Cup - check. Oops, not automatic. Grey Cup victory in 2 years under Jones - check. Oops. Wrong again. Franklin coming to Regina. Gee, do you think you have ANY control over what another team does with its QB who is under contract? Maybe they trade his negotiation rights to an Eastern club like, say, happened with Durant. Or Reilly from BC, who also signed a deal after Edm got his rights. Ya think Eskimos will let him go to free agency? I don't think so - now THAT's a sure thing.

Clay P said...

I can’t help but comment on some of the comments by some people who think they know everything about these playoffs.
1. Anyone that says Jones & his staff & management should be run out of town are senseless idiots.
2.in 2 year’s the staff have done one hell of a job to turn this franchise around. Jones should be given a extension contract NOW.
3.I am a believer that Bradbury is a pretty good referee , but I am also a believer, as said by others that there was no way the league wanted
A 2 team Western GC. How could the calls that were made be so one sided in the first half? Even the command Center reinforced that. Jone’s challenge in 1st quarter would have been awarded to him in the regular season.
4 note Ambrose comments at the trophy presentation when the first thing he said was. “Hats of to the Riders for a terrific year”
Was this said to deflect criticism away from the league that obviously they wanted TO to win.?????
5. As for the Eskimoe idiots who got on this blog all year about them being Canada’s team. Well folks now you aren’t even Alberta’s team now. Please have a good sleepless Winter.
I would say & hope The Stamps beat the shit out of Argo’s . Trust me, mr. Ray & that cocky Propp will be very sad when it’s all over.
Watch out for the JONE’S BOYS NEXT YEAR.

CLAY P. REGINA

Anonymous said...

The inability to win when it counts has dogged Kevin Glenn and it popped up again to today. He is a good qb, but not great. Too bad as it would have been nice to see him finally show us he could but that likely was his last chance.

D played well for 57 mins.

And Trestman is now 3-0 against the Riders in the playoffs.

Good Luck to the Argos next Sunday. If they win, at least there won't be much talk about it except for maybe a handful of fans. It will all be forgotten about by Monday, and we will only hear more about the only Toronto team that the sports networks care about, the Leafs.

Anonymous said...

GLENN THROWS AN INTERCEPTION AND GETS PULLED OUT. COUPLE OF PLAYS LATER JONES PUTS HIM BACK IN AND HE THROWS ANOTHER INTERCEPTION. THIS KIND OF GOING ON TAKES THE WIND OUT OF THE SAIL FOR THE REST OF THE TEAM, SO I COMPLETELY BLAME JONES FOR HIS DUMB DECISION AND THAT HELPED US LOSE THIS GAME.

Anonymous said...

The annual rite of passage in Regina. Wait till next year. Welll boys, if you don't find yourself some new QB's next year will look a whole lot like this year. Seems to me Rod wasn't the only one who predicted a Grey Cup LAST year with Jones, which quicklt changed to this year & if not then definitely next year. Maybe that BEL13VE means it'll be year 13. Yes wink wink nudge nudge every new player Jones brings in will be a star like Zavier who? Young who? LaFrance who? Dennis who? St John who? Third year guaranteed Cup. Better be. Jones may not stay for a 4th year. There's a method to his madness signing washed up NFLers. Brings attention to him. Maybe some college club comes calling. Remember Kent Austin? He left too.

Anonymous said...

We weren't ready to play a full 60 minutes, we weren't good enough to stop the Argo defense, we weren't playing our best football period. But that has been our season, we are not a top team yet. I'll be cheering for Toronto but Calgary will be the Grey Cup champs sad to say.

Anonymous said...

Excuses are for losers truthfully...excellent teams will always stay away from doing this because they can overcome circumstances such as referees.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. Glenn throws for three interceptions. Glenn and Bridges together just barely completed 50% of their passes. The Riders were down 18 to 3 at one point, yet you claim that the defence played well for 58 minutes. The Riders had the lead with two minutes left. Lemon had three sacks. But it was the refs fault that the Riders lost? Okay!

Anonymous said...

Not a big of a fool as the one who thinks the pick six should've been called back. Take your green blinders off, he clearly hits the chest and not the head. Nice try though

Anonymous said...

And you need to take the green blinders off Morgan, as you're out to lunch. It was not RTP and the correct call was made on the field and confirmed via replay

Anonymous said...

It was a definition clothesline hit. BS non-call.

Still offense did nothing till the 4th. Needed to figure it out sooner.

Looking forward to next year!

Anonymous said...

what makes everyone think Franklin is the saviour?? He had a good relief stint when Reilly was injured, but that was for a game or two. He barely played this year too, but not spectacular......Get over it guys, Edmonton would not trade him to another Western team or even let him get away via free agency.

Anonymous said...

At least they have an NHL team to cheer for...what do you guys have. Thanks for coming. Bet the Oilers have 4 cups in the hardest league to win championships and you guys have 4 with 8 and 9 teams...bahahaha