author: nathan mccarville | sports writer
Season ended prematurely against the eventual Grey Cup champs
As predicted, the Saskatchewan Roughriders were able to qualify for the CFL playoffs but, alas, the build-up of excitement for the main event of the season was nothing like what fans or the team had hoped for. The Riders were able to secure their place in the semi-finals through the crossover rule, taking the place of the Hamilton Tiger Cats and becoming the Western Crossover this season. This was their first appearance since 2013.
The team was able to beat the Ottawa Redblacks in their first game, the eastern division semi final, where the Roughriders finished the game with a score of 31-20 over the second-place eastern division team. However, when it came to facing the Toronto Argonauts, the Riders were unable to produce their usual performance.
Over the regular season, the Roughriders were able to claim victory over the Argos, beating them in the 6th week of the season, ending the game with a score of 38-27. A similar result against Toronto was in the 16th week of the regular season, where the Riders took the game by a score of 27-24.
However, when the Roughriders and the Argonauts faced off once again for the eastern division final, Toronto took their revenge, winning the East Final.
Though the Riders were the first to have points on the scoreboard with a three-point convert, the Argonauts started strong, gaining on the Roughriders and surpassing Saskatchewan early in the game. The Argos’ number 47, Terrance Plummer, was able to get a touchdown in the 1st quarter. The two teams were at odds in the second quarter when the Riders picked off a pass from the Argonauts, and then the Argonauts were able to do the same soon after, regaining possession of the ball.
At the end of the second, the Argonauts were able to get another touchdown, Toronto’s Posey, number 85, catching the ball in the end zone despite the close proximity of the Saskatchewan’s Rodger II, number 45 in the white and green away game jersey. The Roughriders were finally able to get their first touchdown of the game at the beginning of the 4th quarter. When the score was 18-3 for the Argonauts, Saskatchewan’s Carter picked the ball in the endzone, edging the Riders into a less-precarious position on the scoreboard. With less than 3 minutes left in the game, Saskatchewan’s Jones, returned a kick, running the ball all the way down the field to the end zone, providing the most exciting and surprising play of the game, positioning the Riders one point ahead of their eastern rival, the Argonauts.
Despite the late period where the Riders seemed to be coming back from their failures on the field, the Roughriders were unable to stop the lightning advance of the Argonauts down the field, the Argonauts getting a touchdown with 24 seconds left on the clock.
One could say there is always next year for the Riders, but for that to happen, the current disparity between the divisions must endure for that to be a likely outcome, and with the most recent performance by the Argos, anything seems as unlikely as it is likely.