"Rarefied"

Glad I didn’t buy green shoes for nothing.

I watched a whole 5 minutes of the game on Saturday night. My brother’s wedding was in full swing, but people were still eating. So I snuck up to my parent’s hotel room and watched the end of the first half. The Riders were down by three when I rejoined the wedding reception, and I was impressed that the Riders weren’t down by more.

I have such faith, don’t I (see the last sentence of last week’s post)?

During the toasts and speeches I tried to find out the score of the game. Here I must rant about the inability of TSN, Sportsnet AND The Score to update their mobile pages. I checked each and every page a half a dozen times between my cell phone and my iTouch. Sportsnet told me that there were no exhibition games this week (WTF?). The Score said it was 7-7 in the first quarter. I’d just watched the end of the first half. TSN did update – albeit slowly – with the wrong score. It said that Calgary was up 13-7 in the third quarter. The score was 13-10 at the half. Again – WTF??

I was sitting at my table, listening to the speeches (it may not have looked like it, but I was!) and becoming increasingly frustrated that our country’s three major sports networks couldn’t update one damn CFL game (which would normally lead me into a rant on the sports media’s lack of coverage of the CFL, but I’ll save this for another time and place). And then it dawned on me that I should check Twitter!!

(Insert singing of the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ here)

I checked, found out the Riders were up 17-13 and announced this news to my parents. The slideshow was next and I was going to go up and say a few words, including the score. My brother had given me strict instructions beforehand that if the Riders were losing, he didn’t want to know. I was so excited that I had good news to share with everyone! But as they called my name to the podium, I heard my Mom tell my brother the score and my bubble burst. I announced the score anyway, but it didn’t have the same effect.

About fifteen minutes later, the slideshow was done and I rechecked Twitter. The Riders were down 23-17, and the tweets seemed to say that it was all but over. So I reconciled myself to another loss and went outside for a bit.

When I came back, about a half hour later, a number of people descended upon me, pleading with me for news of the game. They’d heard that the Riders had won by one point, but needed confirmation. So I took out my iTouch, loaded up Twitter. And lo and behold, the boys had done it! They’d snatched victory from the jaws of defeat!

I don’t remember the last time I’d had such a great day! A wedding and a Rider victory – what an AWESOME day!!

Must have been the shoes.

OFFENSIVE STARS: THE ENTIRE OFFENCE

Now THIS is how an offence should perform! It took four games, but the offence finally clicked on all cylinders. I think a huge part of the reason for the offensive resurgence was the playcalling. They rolled Durant out, gave the ball to Cates, used all of the receivers and even threw a couple of deep balls.

However, playcalling means nothing if the players don’t perform. Durant finally looked the QB we saw last year. Cates looked more like the dominant back he can be. Dressler was amazing – like usual. And Chris Getzlaf had the game of his career, which should make him a shoe-in for Canadian Player of the Week honours.

The offence was certainly buoyed by the return of OG Gene Makowsky. The o-line was much, much, much better this week, giving Durant time to throw and opening up lots of holes for Cates.

Overall, a solid team effort on offence – and it’s about damn time.

DEFENSIVE STARS: #48 – RENAULD WILLIAMS, LINEBACKER and #5 – DONOVAN ALEXANDER, DEFENSIVE BACK

Each of these guys had six tackles and each made a key defensive play in the waning seconds of the game. Williams broke up a big toss to Calgary receiver (and a**hat) Nik Lewis, while Alexander batted the ball away on a big 3rd down play.

The defence as a whole deserves an honorable mention. Although it allowed RB Joffrey Reynolds to rush for 100 against them (yet again), it stopped the Stamps when it mattered most.

SPECIAL TEAMS STAR: #7 – WESTON DRESSLER, SLOTBACK

Dressler made a key play in the dying minutes of the 4th quarter when he returned a missed Calgary field goal to near midfield. That gave the Riders great field position and led to the Getzlaf TD which put the Riders ahead and gave them the game.

I *heart* Dressler. How can you not love this guy?

NEXT WEEK: @ BC. The Lions are reeling after a loss to former cellar-dwelling Ti-Cats. This is another big game for the Riders, as a win would go a long ways to winning the regular season series against BC. However, with the big news that DT Scott Schultz is retiring, the interior of the Riders’ d-line will be tested by RB Ian Smart. I think this will be a close one.

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