With the win on Sunday the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were the first team to secure a playoff spot. But really, who cares? Sure it is cool to secure a playoff spot, but that is not the Bombers’ ultimate goal!
Winnipeg found themselves in a hole early down 14-0 with 13:36 remaining in the 2nd quarter! It looked like Saskatchewan might run away with the game, but Winnipeg had a huge 2nd quarter putting up 17 points! The score would be tied 17-17 at halftime, and I could almost hear Bomber fans in Regina from my home in Manitoba yelling, “Game on!”
As are most Labour Day Classics between these two teams, there were a ton of highlights!
Some Notable Statistics:
If you were going to give a game-ball to a Roughrider I see only two real choices.
*The first option would be to give the game-ball to Cody Fajardo. Sure he only went 23/32 but he racked up 292 yards passing! However, it is really hard to give a game-ball to a guy who was chucking and ducking. While he looked composed early in the game, as the game progressed he was throwing the ball and bailing out at the same time. I think the pressure got to Fajardo, and he started to hear footsteps. It was quite bewildering to see Fajardo on the ground throw after throw when he was not even touched.
*The other option for a Saskatchewan game-ball would be Frankie Hickson who ran like a Mack truck! I have never seen a running back flatten Gauthier like Hickson did! On 15 carries Hickson racked up 85 yards, but no touchdowns. I sure did not foresee Hickson having that kind of a game!
Making sure that my unbiased hat is on and is snugged up, I still have to give the game-ball to a Winnipeg player. There are certainly a number of Bomber players that could receive the game ball.
*Collaros. While his numbers certainly do not jump off the page, a very strong case could be made that he is the best quarterback in the CFL. The reigning CFL MOP (Most Outstanding Player) once again showed why he holds that title! Scrambling and finding players downfield, he threw for two touchdowns which got Winnipeg back into the game.
*How about Nic Demski? He was Winnipeg’s leading receiver with 5 completions for 79 yards! Yes, 50 of those yards came in a bomb from Collaros, but Demski needed to adjust and find the ball over the other shoulder. If you think that is easy, grab a friend and a football, get them to toss you a pass, look for the ball over one shoulder and then readjust and find the ball over the other shoulder. You might not only miss the ball, but you may trip over your own feet. Demski also had 3 rushes for 17 yards.
However, there is one clear frontrunner for the game-ball this game!
*It must be Marc Liegghio! Perfect on the night, Liegghio hit both of his point after attempts, and both his field goals. While that might not sound remarkable you have to note that Liegghio’s second field goal was from 55 yards, and for the lead – as the Bombers were down by 1 point.
Do not think for a moment that Liegghio has completely forgot about the 2 misses in the game against Montreal, which ended up in a Montreal win.
However, as I mentioned after that loss to Montreal, “I doubt he ever gets the jock again. He has proven himself this season!”
What probably gets overshadowed because of his 55 yard field goal was a play that Liegghio made earlier in the game. Punting from his own side of center Liegghio received the snap, but defender Samuel Emilus had a clear path to block the punt. Liegghio recognizes that if he kicks that ball, it is probably a block and a scoop and score. He realizes that he likely cannot run for a first down and would get tackled giving Saskatchewan great field position.
So what does Liegghio do? In mid stride he pulls the great ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ and sidesteps Emilus. Then he lets go a booming punt! In most cases when a punter tries something like that, that punt results in a massive shank! But not for Liegghio!
For performing amazingly under pressure, in Regina in the Labour Day Classic, for making your longest CFL field goal, a booming 55 yarder, for doing the hokey pokey – putting your whole self in and then your whole self out and making Emilus shake all about – with great delight, Marc Liegghio you get my game-ball!
I will cut straight to the chase.
The Labour Day Classic is a heated battle regardless of which teams are playing. However, when you are talking the Labour Day Classic between the Riders and the Bombers, it really gets heated. Therefore teams must keep their composure to not take senseless penalties and put their team in a hole.
Somehow that memo never got the Riders’ dressing room. Or maybe it got to the dressing room but it did not get to the players on the sideline who were not suited up.
I think you know where I am going with this.
With a score of 17-17, and after a catch and run of 8 yards for Saskatchewan’s Moore, Duke Williams – not suited up – decides to get mouthy with Winnipeg’s Nichols. There is 11:08 left in the game and Duke gets mouthy. The Riders are on the Bombers 42 yard line, but Duke takes a 10 yard penalty which would result in the Riders punting the ball two plays later rather than kicking a field goal.
In a Twitter chat group jruban suggested that the Riders would have been better served if Duke used his mouth to eat some more nachos with fans during the game!
For not positively contributing to your team in any way, for inserting yourself into a conversation about the game when nobody should have mentioned you, for putting yourself above the team at a critical moment, and yes for not keeping your mouth busy with nachos, Duke you get the jock!
What did I get right? What did you disagree with? Let me know in the comments.
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Written by a Bomber fan, for the Bomber fans.
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