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Sunday, November 11, 2018

FAMOSO RECAP: BOMBERS TAKE WESTERN SEMIFINAL 23-18 OVER RIDERS


REGINA - Zach Collaros was healthy and ready to lead Saskatchewan to a Grey Cup championship in 2018. But Roughriders head coach Chris Jones just couldn't risk his starting quarterback's health again.

Collaros did not dress in the CFL West Division semifinal against the Blue Bombers on Sunday, a game that Winnipeg won 23-18 to advance to the West final next weekend in Calgary. Jones made the decision less than 24 hours before kickoff on Sunday after Collaros told him something was off.

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"(Collaros) just said he didn't feel quite right,'' said Jones after the season-ending loss. "He didn't say it was a concussion. He just said he didn't feel 100 per cent and I just didn't want to risk another situation like we had with Ottawa earlier in the year.''

Instead, Brandon Bridge started at quarterback for the Riders. He was tapped as the starter earlier in the week, as Collaros' status remained questionable.

The scenario reminded Jones of earlier in the season when Collaros missed four games after he suffered a concussion in Week 2 against the Redblacks.

Jones said Collaros returned from the Riders' bye week healthy after he absorbed a brutal helmet-to-helmet shot from Odell Willis in the team's final regular-season game on Oct. 27 versus the B.C. Lions.

"(Collaros) was cleared, so on paper he could go. I just did not (feel comfortable playing him),'' said Jones. "It was kind of a revisit from the Ottawa week, and I just was not going to risk it.''

On Sunday, Bridge completed 12-of-22 passes for 100 yards. He also carried the ball five times for team-high 86 yards. Though the Riders were unable to find the end zone until late in the fourth quarter. Nick Marshall scored on a one-yard run.

"I feel like we left some plays on the field and we just needed make them,'' said Riders receiver Naaman Roosevelt. "It comes down to execution. Things like blocking, catching the ball, running the right routes and making those plays is what it comes down to. Whoever is (at quarterback) just has to execute what is being called.''

Could a healthy Collaros have made a difference?

"That's hard to say,'' Jones said. "Brandon did a really nice job standing in for him. (Winnipeg) pressured a lot and who's to say that either guy would have been any better?''

Saskatchewan's Willie Jefferson said it was one play that separated the Blue Bombers and Riders on Sunday - a two-yard touchdown run from Andrew Harris with five minutes remaining in the game, a score that put the visitors ahead 23-12.

"It came down to who wanted it more,'' Jefferson said. "Their offence capitalized on a big play and got into the end zone. Our offence couldn't get into the end zone when they had the chances. We just came up short.''

The Riders' offence, instead, settled for four field goals from kicker Brett Lauther.

"We had our opportunities,'' Jones said. "If we just could have got one of those balls in for a touchdown it might be a little different.''

For the second consecutive game, a helmet-to-helmet hit on a Roughriders quarterback had CFL fans buzzing after the game's conclusion.

With the Riders trailing 23-18 in the final minute of play, Bridge was crushed by a hit from Winnipeg's Jackson Jeffcoat after a pass downfield. Bridge stayed motionless on the turf for a few minutes before he walked off under his own strength.

There was no penalty on the play.

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie Twitter after the game that the hit on Bridge was "a missed call.''

"Watching this occur and seeing via the ref cam that the on-field referee's view was blocked, my reaction is we need to look this off-season at allowing the Command Centre to make the call on plays such as this one, clear matters of player health and safety. We need to do more than admit an error. We need to search for a solution.''

(Canadian Press/Craig Slater)

POSTGAME COMMENTS FROM CHRIS JONES

- I coulda coached em better, number one. And we gotta get a stop there at the end to give us more time. There are a lot of things we could've done better. We can't take anything away from Winnipeg. They've got a great team and will be tough down the stretch here.

- We didn't tackle well. We had Harris close to the line of scrimmage but didn't tackle well in the second half.

- We knew early in the week that Zach wasn't ... he came back from the break and didn't have any problems, and he was cleared, and on paper he could go, but it was a revisit from the Ottawa week and I just wasn't going to risk it.

- I told them I love them. I appreciate all of them. I want to wring their neck one minute and hug them the next. We had 12 rookies out there at one point. We're not perfect and do a lot of things wrong, but they show up to work everyday. It makes it easy to work 18-19 hours a day with these guys.

- Zach said he didn't feel quite right. He didn't say it was a concussion but he didn't feel 100%. I didn't want to risk another situation like Ottawa. He said it was similar to that.

- They're still evaluating Brandon right now.

- We had our opportunities. We kicked some field goals. If we could've got just one in, it might've been different. At the end of the day it was a team effort, and it always will be.

- They got the turnover there and turned that into points. That really was the turning point in the game.

- We played hard. We played extremely aggressively defensively. We didn't tackle well and that's one thing we'll look at, and wish we did better. It was our left hand tonight. It didn't really work for us.

- Brandon did a nice job standing in there for him. They pressured a lot. Who's to say either guy could've done any better?

- I hate more challenges. I'm not an advocate of challenging everything. It'll never be perfect but when it's right at the point of attack, you'd think, with as many people looking at it, that they'd get a few of those right. That's how I look at it. Hindsight's 20/20.

- Eguavoen's a good football player and played good football all year long. He's come in and done everything we've asked him to do. He was nicked up all year long, and played well on special teams too.

- Streveler's tough to tackle. There's no doubt about it. You got him tackled and he leans forward and adds 3 or 4 more. He adds another dimension to their football team.

- Moncrief's injury forced us to move people around, but tackling was what hurt us tonight.

- Winnipeg's much better than what Ottawa was at this point last year. You can't compare one year to the other. If you don't win the Grey Cup, it doesn't make any difference when you lose. If you don't win the Grey Cup, it's all for not.

- Winnipeg's what we thought. They're a good team. They won the turnover battle and you win, and they won it today. You turn it over between two evenly-matched teams, that'll be the difference and that's what happened.

(RodPedersen.com Wire Services/Ryan McKenna)

21 comments:

Justin Case U-win said...

It’s really tough to take that had Zack played that game. I have no doubt the Riders win. I’m sorry to say this but Zack Collaros should retire. He can’t afford another concussion. The Riders can not afford a QB that can’t play in the playoffs. As well no team should have to sit on pins and needles all year long wondering every time your QB gets hit if he’s going to be concussed. Then having it happen 2 or 3 times. Mike Reilly is a tank and Zack Collaros sadly has become a glass slipper.
Time to move on to a QB that can show up and play for his $430K pay check.

Curt Dittmer said...

Brandon Bridge is not a professional grade QB. He can run but he takes too long in the pocket and cannot complete basic throws. We should have had an opening drive TD if not for Bridge missing a wide open Roosevelt on a relatively simple throw. He then overthrew Roosevelt on the 2 point convert throw on yet another simple throw. You can blame MacAdoo as much as you want, and he deserves lots of blame for the poor offense this year, but the fact remains Bridge should never have made this team as a QB. Jones has had 3 years to find a bonafide QB for the Riders and the organization has failed miserably. I like Jones but he needs to get a legitimate QB in here next year or the season will be another lost one.

CM said...

nice season disappointing ending. would have won with Zach but reality is the QB situation is on Jones. If you have an injury prone starter you need a very competent back up QB and for some reason Bridge was way worse than last year. Watford isn't a QB. Until the QB situation is fixed you ain't winning no Grey Cup.

John Knight said...

Riders played not bad. Jones was right, better tackling would have helped. Harris got far too many rushing yards. On the other hand, something needs to be done about officiating! I know Riders wouldn't have won the game but 1) Jones shouldn't have had to challenge the pass interference early and 2) that VERY BAD AN OBVIOUS hit to the head on Bridge not being called was ridiculous! Some officials should either lose their job or at the very least be suspended. My understanding was that the league wants to stop hits to the head but this was so obvious that it was ridiculous

Randolph Charles said...

They pounded the rock the classic way, where they won the time of possession game. I think we won special teams slightly, but let's face it. This Bomber team was the CFL's best team in the second half of the season. Calgary will absolutely have to play their best ball in order to make their way north on the 25th.

Enigma said...

Now comes excuse time from so many people. There is no guarantee we would have won with Collaros out there. He's had more mediocre games than great ones. We didn't get it done plain and simple. Once again our quarterbacking was at best mediocre all season..once again. Their QB was 6 points better than ours and it only takes one point to lose. We done a lot of that lately in games that count. We STILL don't have an elite QB and Jones has had three years to get one in here but hasn't. He has been given time, money, and support. He has been shown respect beyond his results. He hasn't shown the fans anything in the way of championships and that's what defines any organization. Maybe it's time he is shown something…….

Unknown said...

Rather than begin with pointing out the obvious flaws, I prefer to start by saying I believe it was a good season overall, and that there is plenty of reason for optimisism in 2019. It was the Riders' 2nd string QB in this playoff match against a team that is very solid when on their game,so to lose by only 5 points is not too bad at all. It is ironic though in that even though the O was stagnant at times this year, and the play calling of the OC and his schemes were at times debatable, it was the D that actually bent today, when the team really needed a stop, and it happened more than once today. Nonetheless, if the Riders can get better at a couple of positions, and have a healthy reliable QB, then a return to where they were this year is reasonable to expect. If Mike Rielly is really looking at options, that would be quite a signing and worth it even if they gave him a base, with the salary to go up substantially by hitting certain targets. I believe Colloras is good, but he is not an elite QB even for the CFL and his ability to continue playing may now be in question.

SWC said...

I guess Willie Jefferson found out why all those Bomber O-lineman are all-stars.

crashbangwallop said...

This is a very talented team but was so disappointing to watch on account of an offence that couldn't get it together (all year).

Hate to say it 'cause he's a Rider and probably a great guy, but if Brandon would've got that headshot in the first quarter, it would've given the Riders a chance to win the game. His passing hurt the team in a big way.

Love Collaros and the qb he can be but I think the ship has sailed.

Rob in Stoon

Darren Muller said...

After hearing Bridge was to start I quickly tempered my enthusiasm for this game. Knowing that we may not score a touchdown in the cold conditions. Although he did do some things right and ran some, there were still the same mistakes that we have become accustomed to seeing with him. Told Dad we need 20 points we have a shot. Well it didnt happen. Going forward we need a true marquee quarterback. We are knocking at the door my friends, it's just a real tough one to take. Disappointed in our defence. Needed the big play from you knowing we had our backup in there but you came up empty when it counted.

Unknown said...

Sorry, as I missed one other point I wish to make, and will keep it brief. Whatever the motive, why take BB out when the Riders were moving the ball and close to the red zone, putting in Watford, who one should not really blame either, as he was cold, and it leads to 3 points instead of possibly 7, which would have made a huge difference in the final moments of the game? Just because they did it before or Winnipeg does did not sit well with me, as it stunted the drive. Oh well, always next year. Thank you is to the team, entire organization, and fans.

Football Fan said...

A disappointing ending, but on the good news side we took another HUGE step forward this year. Second place in the west, second in the league in fact, and a home playoff game. And this in spite of some very bad luck with our QBs this year. Last year Lady Luck smiled on us and the injury prone Glenn stayed healthy all year and Bridge emerged as a very good backup QB, possibly ready to become a very good starter. This year the fickle finger of fate wagged the other way. Collaros was injured twice, once at a critical time, and Bridge regressed massively. The good news is that there are a whole bunch of good QBs hitting the market this off season, including Reilly, and Reilly has won a GC with Jones before.

Priorities for the off season:
1. Sign Jones to a long term contract. This needs to happen immediately!
2. A nano second after that we need to contact Reilly's agent and tell him we're going to be VERY interested in him.

Old Rider Fan said...

Realize poor tackling in the secon half ... but ... when the O can't burn some clock eventually any D gets tired. Just like it happened to BC in our last game. A very entertaining season ... full of ups and downs ... keeps it interesting as it should. Now it's on to Go Bombers I guess.

Old Rider Fan said...

Feel the need to offer some support to Brandon Bridge. See many don't want him back etc. So what changed from last year ... that's what puzzles me. I can't help but think there was over emphasis on caution. I don't question that but how does that play with his head. So ... throw even further away from the defender ... take too much time making 'sure' the receiver is open ... etc. And then not sure the game plan is to his strengths. Think his confidence level must be close to zero.

Used to hate that Burris/Stamps play where he would roll out with the RB ... may throw to him or pass downfield or take off. Killed us many times. The Stamps used Henry's strengths ... could run and strong arm on the fly. Don't think I ever saw similar with BB.

Not sure the typical NFL style of 'stand in the pocket' fits with all QBs. May be why a guy like Flutie had to come north to prove he could make it work. BTW ... check his early stats ... not that great.

BB may be done. But if the league changes its QB rules we may see more of him somewhere.

Football Fan said...

I don't think BB is done. You can't take away what he did last year. I think someone will sign him and give him a shot, to be a backup at least, but I'm pretty sure it won't be us.

I don't know what happened to him this year. He's been a notoriously poor practice player since he's been with us, and I think even before, and that suggests that he needs the right motivation, or needs to be in the right frame of mind, to play at a high level, and it seems like he just never got back to that level this year in practice or in games. For those who may be still wondering why MacAdoo was so conservative this year with both Collaros and Bridge the last two weeks should remove any doubt. Collaros was one hit away from being knocked out for an extended period of time, and Bridge never got back to where he was last year. Bridge seemed quite distracted in the off season with all that talk about the ratio and Canadian QBs, and maybe that carried over into this year, or maybe he put extra pressure on himself that threw him off. I don't know, but after showing so much promise last year he had a terrible year this year. And Collaros should probably retire.

Scott Thompson said...

Sign Jones to a contract extension immediately. He has improved thus team every year, they succeeded despite having a pedestrian offense all season. Back up the Brinks truck to Mike Reilly’s house, and find us a backup. Offense needs to be of great importance this offseason. Onward and upward, Go Riders.

3RD and 1 said...

Enigma you have to be kidding. Take a step back for a second. The team that just beat the Riders with their 1st String QB has a head coach that has been given more than twice the time Chris Jones has. Jones just put a million dollars in the bank by having the playoff game in Regina. Chris Jones took over a team that was the worst in the CFL. The 1st year is a wash when you have to gut the whole team. Then to go on with a10 win then 12 win season with a home playoff game. I have no idea what you do for a living but I would bet you have zero knowledge of the Corporate world. When your employees are showing progression not regression. You stay the course.
Now we all know what the Bombers fans felt like Grey Cup 2007. A healthy Kevin Glen in his prime would have won that game. Same scenario. Riders barely beat a back up QB, starting his 1st game; Ryan Dinwiddie. 23-19
If Collaros would have been symptom free I have no doubt he would have won that game.
Regardless as the play of both teams yesterday needs to be far better to take out Calgary at home. I have my doubts the Bombers can do that next week.
I expect to see Calgary in the GC

Mike said...

There are many teams looking for an elite QB. They dont just land on your lap buddy.

3RD and 1 said...

If we are going to start talking about Season 2019 and a possible QB replacement. There should be a couple others talked about besides Mike Reilly. We all know that each team that wants Reilly will offer Mike the maximum dollar. So the money is not the issue. It will come down to new beginnings and Geography. With emphasis on the later. Remove the money aspect as it’s not a factor. If you had a very young family and you could play a couple hours away by vehicle. Or 30 minutes by plane. Plus your teams outdoor geography looks and feels like your practising back home. As well your home games are never affected by weather. Plus the GM that traded for you when you were a back up. He believed in you more than anyone else and he wants you again. On the team that first brought you into the CFL. To work with a first year head coach and OC on your new team. Knowing that your input is going to be heard more than a team with multi year coaches already in place. Seriously how can Mike Reilly not be a BC Lion in 2019.
I would suggest that Trevor Harris under the right tutelage could be a very good QB. Yes he’s been hot and cold this year. He too has dealt with Injured players. William Powell the #1 RB in the league. Yet they took out the TigerCats 30-13 to take the East. When SK list the #1 RB Corey Sheets to Injury. The Riders went on a 4 game losing streak. I’m not sure if Chris Jones sticks with Stephan MacAdoo or he finds a new OC. That may come down to what exactly happens at the QB position.

John Knight said...

Jones must be given a lot of credit for keeping Collaros out of the game even though Zack had been cleared to play. Is anyone still saying players don't want to play for him? When they know he has the players back they will go through the wall for him. If Collaros had played, he may have been a vegetable if he had taken a hit like Bridge got. It's time Zack retired.

Bfib said...

Well theres always next year . I think Kevin Glen should never of been let loose at the end of last year . He would of made all the difference this year with our QB problems and maybe would of taken us to his first grey cup . As far as the rest of the team we have to keep most of them to be competitive next year . Maybe If Winnipeg can beat Calgary they may sell some Grey Cup tickets to fill Commonwealth .