To The Point: Game Recap And Analysis: Toronto 42 – Saskatchewan 40

A tough loss for the Saskatchewan Roughriders (42-40 Toronto) sees them fall to 0-2 on the season and perhaps more significantly 0-2 at home. Here are my thoughts from the contest as it played out.

The Rider defence appears to begin strong as Alex Hall collects a sack on Toronto’s opening drive.

Long field goal from Argonaut youngster Ronnie Pfeffer to cap impressive first drive. Riders I’m sure wish they had a young player that could come in and connect from 50 yards out. 3-0 Toronto.

Impressive opening drive for the Riders. Questionable decision on second and short to move Messam laterally instead of North-South towards the end zone. Despite that the play call shows some creativity.
Paul McCallum comes into a nice ovation and connects on a chip shot to tie the game. Tie-game 3-3.
Second Toronto drive has them once again moving the ball on a porous Rider defense.

The only way the Riders are getting pressure is by blitzing safety Tyron Brackenridge. How long before the Argos take a shot deep?

First quarter ends 3-3 with Argos marching. Riders to get the wind in the second quarter.

Argos cap off another impressive drive this time with a major. No pressure on the Quarterback and Kevin Elliot is allowed to cross the formation to take the dump pass for the major. A long extra point attempt into the wind is good and Toronto takes a 10-3 lead.

Second Rider possession ends with a Rob Bagg reception short of the first down. Kevin Glenn heads towards Bagg as the two leave the field. No doubt the conversation has to do with knowledge of down and distance.
Riders illegal formation on the ensuing punt negates a 60 yard-punt. Ouch. A big return by Chad Owens is negated by penalty and the Argos are starting deep in their own end.

Two and out for the Argos thanks to a great read by Tristan Jackson on a screen play.
Ensuing Rider drive kept alive by a nice grab by Rob Bagg. This time he is beyond the first down marker. Glenn’s leadership pays off.

Big challenge goes in favour of the Riders as a Jamal Richardson drop is confirmed as an incomplete pass as opposed to a catch and fumble.

The Riders after moving the ball will have to settle for another Paul McCallum field goal. Toronto 10 Saskatchewan 6.

Riders Jake Doughty comes up with the first defensive turnover of the season a spectacular interception as he does a masterful job of covering the middle of the field.

The following possession results in a two and out for the Riders but McCallum comes in and kicks a 49 yarder with the wind. Toronto 10 – Saskatchewan 9.

Toronto takes the ball at their own 35 yard line. Improved Rider tackling has the Argos in second and long but lack of pass rush means the Argos can get into 3rd and short. Go to the three-minute warning but why does no one seem to know? This needs to be ironed out by the CFL.

Penatlies with a catipal P come back to hurt the Riders on the third down gamble the Argos are stopped but the Riders lined up off-side. That hurts.

AND the hurt continues as the Riders stop the Argos on second and long but another off-side gives Toronto another chance to get the first down. Fortunately the Riders come up with a coverage sack on the second and four play to force a kick.

Riders are marching the ball within the last minute and full marks to Kevin Glenn for extending plays with his feet. Then he uses his smarts and veteran savy as there are all kinds of problems getting the play in from the sidelines he stays calm and then throws a strike of 28-yards to Ryan Smith in behind the coverage. Two-point convert falls incomplete, intended for Weston Dressler. Riders challenge a non-pass interference call. The length of this challenge is sucking the life out of the stadium. Needs to be fixed by the league. End of the day not sure how a defender is supposed to cover but the Riders get the call. Jerome Messam carries the ball across the line with Toronto obviously off side. Saskatchewan 17 – Toronto 10.

Riders will kick-off from the 40 due to the penalty on the convert. That’s a tough one for the league allowing the penalty to carry over. Never the less the Argos ground the ball following an uneventful kick return. Riders 17 – Argos 10 at the half.

The second half begins with Tristan Jackson and a nice return near midfield. The Argos deferred the coin toss win at the start of the game and are saving the wind advantage for the final quarter. The Riders job is to try to build on their lead.

Kevin Glenn is moving well in the pocket as he escapes pressure on a second and long play and dumps it over the middle to Jamal Richardson. The next play Glenn finds Ryan Smith wide open at the Argo 20. With Smith’s production is could be tough finding a spot on the field for Taj Smith.

Riders cap the drive with a nice pass from Kevin Glenn to Chris Getzlaf at the back of the end zone. It comes off the board though due to a face-masking call. Riders can’t recover and the field goal unit has to come on. McCallum is good with the hold by Dressler. 20-10 Riders extend their lead.

Argos take over on the 35. On first down Andre Drurie limps off in discomfort after being run over in pass protection. Argos covert on second and long and look to have some momentum after a play-action play on first down. A Brandon Whitaker long run on second and short moves the Argos into scoring territory. However, an obvious hold on Alex Hall sprung the Argo RB.

However, a nifty tackle by Macho Harris snuffs out the drive and forces a long field goal attempt which the youngster Pfeffer misses wide-right. Take the Rouge 20-11 for the Riders.

The Riders are able to take the ball near mid-field after a near pick and waived off pass interference call. The call is appropriately waived off as the ball was tipped. However, Dressler was in the grasp of the receiver prior to the throw and because he was beyond five yards of the line of scrimmage it should have been an illegal contact on the receiver penalty. However, PI can be challenged but illegal contact isn’t. This is getting kinda messy!
Ray Early’s booming punt trickles through the end zone and the Riders extend their lead 21-11.

Following the punt the Riders defence comes to play with a two and out. However, a first-down saving tackle by John Chick allowed the Green and White D to stay off the field. Argos are trying to force the Riders to tackle them, something the defence couldn’t do in week one against Winnipeg.

On the second to last play of the third quarter Anthony Allen’s fumble-itus returns as he has a first-down but has the ball knocked out of his arms and Toronto recovers.

Argos have the ball and the wind moving to the final quarter trailing by 10. Saskatchewan 21 – Toronto 11 at the break.

Riders start the quarter with a nice defensive stop on second and long. Pfeffer comes out and misses a 32 yarder, Jackson returns it out of the end zone no points scored.

Ensuing Rider drive Jerome Messam shows his worth. Pounding run on first down and then makes a good catch as a release valve to get the first down.

Love the play calling as this drive for the Riders continues. A play fake on first down and throw to possession receiver Jamal Richardson to extend the drive and take time off the clock is big.

On second and five Kevin Glenn puts everything that he has on the ball into the wind and Ryan Smith crashing down on his head makes a big catch. BUT the next play turns into a pcik six for A-J Jefferson as he steps in front of Taj Smith to pick off the Glenn pass. Argos attempted convert is good from 32. Saskatchewan 21 – Riders 18.

After the interception the Riders appear shaken as poor penalties have cost the Riders some big yards. A decent Ray Early punt catches the Riders in the no-yard zone and a 15 yard penalty has the Argos near midfield.

Riders defence will bend but not break so Ronnie Pfeffer will have to kick a 30+ yard field goal to attempt to draw even with the Riders. However, the 3-minute warning will give him two minutes to think about it. BUT he puts it through to even the game at 21.

The Rider offence comes on to the field looking patient. However, Kevin Glenn looks to the sidelines and asks for a double-move pattern for Ryan Smith complete the Riders are knocking at the door!
Riders are being criticized on TSN for going tempo offence and not taking time off the clock. I think it’s ingenious by the Green and White not allowing the Argos to stack up the line. That being said the league now needs to be cognizant of players going down allowing for defensive substitutions. Let’s face it the Riders used to do it after every punt to allow the defence to come onto the field and get set. All that being said the Riders cross the line and re-take the lead on the QB sneak by Brett Smith. Now do you go for 1 or 2? The Riders decide one point into the wind. McCallum comes in and it’s good. Make it 28-21 Riders.

So the final drive for the Argos is set up after a good return and a penalty on the Argos, Toronto will start at their own 25.First play to Chad Owens is a first down, a gain of 18 and a late flag has the crowd on their edge of their seat. Taking forever to sort out. I though the new officials head sets were supposed to speed up these conferences. Illegal block moves the ball back to the Toronto 31. 61 seconds left.

Long throw by the Argos exploit the Rider secondary. Argos in Rider territory.

Two players later first down Toronto. Clock ticking ball on the Riders 35. Harris takes a shot into the end zone over-throws his receiver, should be mentioned no pass interference.

Harris throws it again to the end zone and this time Macho Harris trips of the receiver it’s called accidental so move the ball ahead to the Riders 25. Riders maybe got away with one. 17 seconds left.

A short throw to Anthony Coombs sets up second and short. 11 seconds to go in the game time out Toronto. The fans for some reason are quiet allowing the Argos to make their play calls.

Ensuing play Harris connects with Chad Owens. Do the Argos go for two and the wind? No instead they look for the tie with the 32 yard point after. AND it’s good 28-28. Six seconds left.

Into OT we go and after being stopped once on the goal line the Riders switch it up to an end-around with Robb Bagg. Riders have been setting the play up all day. Riders now have to go for two.

The Argos take an intentional penalty to move the ball half the distance to the goal on the convert. Heads up by the Argos. Hand off to Messam and he won’t get in. Riders 34 – Toronto 28.

Riders defence are playing prevent once again in overtime. Wide-open man at the 5 yard line. Pass short Saskatchewan D lives to play another down.

On second down Trevor Harris forced to scramble but gets the first down with a pass to Chad Owens. Riders get a stop on a second down short pass but a head shot on the quarterback will cost the Riders 15 yards. Next play Trevor Harris goes across the grain to Brandon Whitaker for the major. Toronto can win it with a convert. Harris is sacked by Macho Harris on the play and away we go to double-overtime. An assist could be given to John Chick for taking the passing lane away and forcing Harris to pull the ball down. We are tied 34-34.
Toronto to start the second series. Riders continue to line Tyron Brackenridge 15 yards off the ball. On second and short Whitaker carries the ball for 5 yards for the first down for the Argos. On first down nice coverage by the Riders and the defence is able to stop up Harris but not before a gain of two. Will the Riders bring the heat on second down?

The Riders don’t but the Argos line-up off-side takes a score off the board. On second and 13 Brackenridge is called for Pass Interference as he is deemed to get to Chad Owens before he gets to the ball. Riders don’t challenge the call.

Next play Harris throws to Gurlie in the end zone for the score. Convert is ruled no good. Toronto 40 – Saskatchewan 34. Play is under review after watching the Brackenridge P.I. can’t believe that wasn’t reviewed! Hard enough to play defence in this league not to allow that type of play. After review they confirm the convert to make it 42-34. Rider offence to the field. The best the Green and White can do is tie the ball game.

Riders offence to the field on the first play Ryan Smith takes a huge hit from the Safety Black. Can’t believe that they TV commentators feel that it was an OK hit. TO me it was a shot to the head. Next play Kevin Glenn finds Chris Getzlaf in full stride in the end zone. The game comes down to a two-point convert.

Pass to Getlzlaf on the convert is incomplete make the final 42-40. Toronto is 2-0, Saskatchewan is 0-2.
Turning Points: The Tyron Brackenridge pass interference on second down in the second overtime and the pic six early in the fourth quarter.

In review the offence looks good with Kevin Glenn at the controls the defence has to find a way to stop the opposition!

And that’s to the point!