The Saskatchewan Roughriders were hoping to treat themselves to a win on Halloween in Calgary; instead they tricked themselves into a 42-19 loss against the Stampeders.
After winning the coin toss, it was all downhill for the Riders. Calgary took the opening kickoff back 59 yards to the Riders 35 yard line setting up an opening drive touchdown pass from Bo Levi Mitchell to Eric Rogers giving Calgary an 8-0 lead.
“We were a little slow to the bell and they put some points up,” said interim head coach Bob Dyce.
After the game, no one, including Dyce, could pin point why the team got off to such a slow start. Last week, the team came out of the gate flying putting up an early 21-3 lead against the Eskimos. This week, it was the exact opposite.
“We felt short again. It’s been the nature of our season,” said linebacker Tyron Brackenridge.
Even though the Riders scored more than eight points, that first series more or less ended their day as Calgary rode that early momentum to a 26-3 lead before deep into the second quarter.
Throughout the game the Riders sprinkled in some of their usual bad habits. Defensive back Marshay Green whiffed on a tackle in the second quarter allowing Joe West to score. In the third quarter, the Riders had the Stampeders stopped but fullback Carl Fitzgerald contacted punter Rob Maver to keep the drive alive. Green was later penalized twice on the same drive leading to a Bryant Moniz touchdown.
Making matters worse, the Riders dealt with a lot of injuries. Receiver Chris Getzlaf, safety Keenan MacDougall and defensive lineman Dylan Ainsworth all did not finish the game and were seen in sweats after the game. It’s not known what their status is for next week’s season finale against the Alouettes.
Quarterback Brett Smith also took a shot to the head in the second quarter. Keith Price eventually took over with 10 seconds left in the half and played the rest of the game, as he likely would have regardless.
“I feel good. I didn’t agree with the hit, I thought it was dirty,” said Smith.
“It’s all good; we completed it and got some big yards.”
Despite what appeared like a lack of effort at times from the Rider, every coach and player asked felt the team fought until the end of the game.
“I really felt that they all did. It would have been easy for them give up on that game getting down as quickly as we did. I don’t feel like there’s a quitter in that room,” said Dyce.
That attitude could be tested once again next week in Montreal. Should the Alouettes lose to the Edmonton Eskimos on Sunday, they will officially be eliminated from playoff contention, meaning neither team will have much to play for.
“It sucks to be thinking that some teams in here still got a month of football left and you only got a week left. That’s tough,” said offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte.
“I think across the team everybody realizes this is an opportunity, especially the young guys, to get some game film out there.”
Linebacker Jeff Knox Jr. made some Riders history on Saturday. Knox recorded six tackles, giving him 107 on the season surpassing the team’s previous single-season record of 105. The record was held by George White, Barrin Simpson and Jerrell Freeman. Knox needs eight more tackles to break the CFL’s rookie record.
Linebacker Denicos Allen led the team defensively with seven tackles. The defence didn’t sack quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell once.
Receiver Weston Dressler still has a chance to get to 1,000 receiving yards this season. Dressler picked up a team high 129 yards against Calgary. Dressler needs 72 yards next week to reach the milestone.
Price finished the game 15-for-26 with 183 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Smith was 10-for-23 for 90 yards.