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Monday, November 12, 2018

OUT OF THE TUNNEL: ENDING WITH A THUD

Photo: CFL.ca
BY: RODPEDERSEN.COM STAFF

Mosaic Stadium looked like a snow-globe, but it was no childrens movie on a frigid Sunday night.

A tremendous 2018 Roughriders season ended with a thud as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers ground out a 23-18 victory over the hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL Western Semifinal.

The Riders are headed home far earlier than expected, while the Blue Bombers punched their ticket to Calgary and next Sunday's West Division Final versus the 13-5 Stampeders.

When it was officially announced that Zach Collaros was ruled out for Sunday's game - presumably still nursing concussion symptoms from the Odell Willis hit on October 27th - many in Rider Nation had much of their hope sucked out of them. Brandon Bridge was anointed the starter and the Riders' hopes for the second season fully rested on his shoulders.

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He didn’t play well. Bridge was able to use his feet to extend plays and pick up a few first downs, but he ended up with as many rushing yards (86) as passing (100). That is not a formula for success.

The Blue Bomber defence was prepared for Bridge, and the elements. They packed the box and left it in the right hand of Brandon Bridge to win or lose. Rider running backs had a total of just 29 yards on the ground on 12 carries, which is under 2.5 yards per carry.

They played this game perfectly. As did the Bomber offence.

The Saskatchewan Roughrider defensive front was bullied all game long. They knew Winnipeg would run the ball and even knowing that, the Blue Bomber offensive line made short work guiding Andrew Harris to 153 yards on the ground at an 8.1-yard-per-carry clip.

It seemed like the Rider defence also had a tough time tackling, at the wrong time of the season.

Matt Nichols was incredibly efficient as well, keeping things simple and not making any mistakes.

All game long, fans were waiting for that big play. A Willie Jefferson strip and score, an Ed Gainey interception return, a Kyran Moore punt return for a touchdown, or even a Marcus Thigpen 55-yard run to the end zone.

Winnipeg was not having any of that Sunday afternoon. They were the better team and there was zero doubt about it.

The question will be out there, “Would the Riders have won with Zach Collaros at quarterback?”

Who knows, and we never will. The 2018 season is officially over for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

It was a season with so much promise, but in the back of everyone’s minds there was that thought that something was missing.

So many questions heading into the off-season and we here at Out of the Tunnel will tackle them all:

- The coaching staff will look drastically different with the new salary cap on football operations.

- Chris Jones is heading into the final season of his contract. Will he extend for another year or receive a multi-year extension?

- Why did the offence take a huge step back in 2018?

- A new collective bargaining agreement is on the horizon.

- With how beat and battered Zach Collaros is, will there be a whole new crop of quarterbacks at training camp in 2019?

- How will the AAF impact the retention of current free agents and the recruitment of future CFLers?

All of that and more, but first we all have to endure the rest of the CFL season and watch one of Calgary, Hamilton, Winnipeg or Ottawa hoist the Grey Cup.

/=S=/

Before we put the game to bed, one of the things that has to be addressed is the grotesque hit on Brandon Bridge on the second last play of the game on Sunday.

Jackson Jeffcoat lunged into Bridge with a textbook illegal hit if there ever was one. Every one of the officials missed it and for the second game in a row, a Roughrider quarterback received a severe head injury when it wasn’t necessary.

Jeffcoat should miss the next game, plain and simple.

The NCAA has it right. After years of finessing, they have pretty much figured it out. If there is contact to the head of any ball carrier, it is flagged by an official and then sent up to a replay booth to be reviewed.

The hit will be judged as either just a major foul for unnecessary roughness or tack on a game misconduct. If that game misconduct is in the second half, that player would then miss the first half of the upcoming game.

If all the officials missed the hit, which mainly happens on kick returns, the replay official buzzes the on field official and the process begins from there.

The CFL needs to fix this, players safety is on the line if this continues to happen.

The 15-yards probably wouldn’t have made a difference in the game, but a severe punishment for hits such as this are needed to keep the game we all love around. If not, what parent in their right mind would want to put their child into football if they know that hits like this are still allowed at any level.

Canada West Notebook:

Huge congratulations to head coach Scott Flory and his University of Saskatchewan Huskies. They were giant killers on Saturday knocking off the previously undefeated Calgary DInos 43-18.

The Huskie defence intercepted the Canada West MVP Adam Sinagra four times while Tyler Chow ran for 222 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.

This was the first Hardy Cup victory for the Huskies since 2006 and will take on the undefeated Western Mustangs next week at the Mitchell Bowl in London, Ontario.

Prairie Football Conference:

There will be one more football game played in Saskatchewan in 2018 and that is for the Canadian Bowl.

Next Saturday, November 17th, the Saskatoon Hilltops look for their fifth straight national title as they host the Langley Rams. It’s a 1:00pm kickoff at SMF Field.


Canadian to Watch in the NCAA
Hergy Mayala – Sr.
Receiver - Connecticut
6’1”, 208lbs.
Montreal, Quebec
High School – Trinity Pawling (NY)

Mayala had a breakout junior season with the Huskies in 2017 with 43 catches for 615 yards and seven touchdowns.

His senior season hasn’t been as strong, but it has been a rough season for UConn with just a single win in 10 starts this season. Mayala has 31 catches for 294 yards heading into the fnal two weeks of the season.

(By RodPedersen.com Staff)

9 comments:

Kramer said...

15 yards isn't enough of a penalty, want it out of the game, 50 yards or 6 points and 1 game suspension on top of the rest of the current game. Second occurrence in your career you are out for a full year of play (18 games total) and D coord out for a week, no practice no pay. Third life time offence you are out of the game forever, can't coach, can't even attend a game. Make it really hurt and then the play will change.

Clifton said...

Surprised how poorly the defence played in the game.

fannotacoach said...

The solution to ref's not seeing these hits is the same as the turnover and scoring play rule. Every time a player, especially the QB gets injured there is a review by the video officials and at that time the penalty can be assessed as req'd. Even to the extent that faking it would be dealt with as well (i.e. certain punters that clutch extremities when there was no contact).

The penalty has to be time lost from the game like in hockey as well as fines.

Old Rider Fan said...

That NCAA approach is interesting. In defense of the D ... I really don't know how you can avoid hits to the head in this game. But no doubt the game will suffer in the long term ... probably along with hockey. Parents today are turning more to soccer and I suspect are more protective ... certainly more than our parents ever were. Things need to change in both games.

Harley Man! said...

I think that in cases where referees miss a call and it involves player safety, central command should be able to review the play and make a decision. I’d like to see the team get a 25 yard penalty and the player that made the hit get a 2 game suspension. No play and no pay consequence for the player.

Enigma said...

The penalty means absolutely nothing!! Even if a guy get flagged, all it results in is a fine in the amount of 50% of a games pay. Now if you knock out a teams star QB in the 1st quarter, your chances of winning go way up. I don't think there is any way you wouldn't be compensated by your team or alumni off the books. Until there are some serious penalties like 3-6 game suspensions nothing will change. The most fitting penalty on any deliberate injury penalty is you don't play until the other guy is cleared to play.

Rod is quite right; there is no way to say that we would have won with Collaros. It's a total moot point. Perhaps chances may have been better but really it's a pointless comment. Nobody could have anticipated the poor line play on both O and D.

Collaros has been concussed so many times now that he is putting himself at risk. Any team who employs him are also putting him physically at risk and themselves at risk civilly. You can only take so many concussions until your in a very bad place, like being carried by six people. He is not the player he once way. Hamilton seen that and the Riders should have seen it as well. Neither of the QB's we have can ever take this team to a Grey Cup win. It's time to really look at free agency with an eye to developing another true stud QB. All the remaining teams have the best QB's. Fixing this deficiency along with some receivers, improve the O-line and D-line. That will take this team a long way.

Old Rider Fan said...

Just watched the game again ... sans emotion. We played better than I thought. To me the real difference was that Bomber O line combined with missin our key D tackle up the middle. As for BB ... I have no doubt the fear of a mistake has him wanting to make totally sure the receiver is open ... takes too long. Had confidence throwing only to Roosevelt. Something happened to that guy this year.

Our guys did some real fighting all year long. I give Jones credit for that motivation. (But why pull BB after a great long drive? OK not perfect)

Helix said...

Yes pulling Bridge at the 13 yard line after he manufactured a very nice drive was a real head scratcher. Everyone from Wes Cates to Glen Suitor said all that does is take away all the confidence Bridge had built up during the successful drive down the field. Maybe Macadoo called that and he will find employment elsewhere in 2019...here’s to hoping.

Chris Jones has done a fantastic job over the last 3 years and deserves every penny of his large contract. Actually O’day and Murphy also deserve credit for finding and bringing in plenty of talent.

I get the feeling with all free agents and new limits on coaching salaries 2019 is going to see radical changes to all the teams. Next year may be a complete reboot for the CFL in general.

Signing Collaros was a good idea that didn’t quite pan out. I agree with Murphy. It’s time do what is necessary to address the head shots. Seriously no more bullshit talking about it. Time to catch up to College ball and NFL on concussion prevention.

Robert S said...

What did I say that wasnt the truth, in my comment yesterday that wasnt posted?