So it took me a full day to fully recover from that game, re-watch it and visit this message board. I had a lot of fun reading the "ROBBED, ROBBED, ROBBED" thread....it was exactly what I expected. (Not saying I think we got robbed, because we didn't...at least to my understanding of the rules, the right call was eventually made.)
I'd like to talk about the whole game....not just the one play/one call that was made near the end.
You have to like the fight that the Cats showed. Yet again we stumbled out of the gate in the first quarter (which we have done in all three games so far....even the Argos game), but we really rebounded and had a very strong second half. I'm starting to like the make-up of our team.
Lumsden was just unreal again. Obviously that was a huge fumble, but he bounced back and just tore up the Riders D. He is something else and that combination we have with Printers is unreal.
Our Special Teams were solid all game. Tre Smith is the real deal and I love watching that guy play. Not only can he contribute to the offence, but he is elusive on kick returns and makes something out of nothing every time. Also, our return coverage was very solid....not really any big plays and we had good field position as a result.
Dropped balls. Cohen had a bad one. Miles had one and another where I could've sworn Craig Yeast stole his jersey and jumped on the field for the play (I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about). Mitchell sort of dropped one, although it would've been a nice catch had he made it. Bottom line, you can't have this many miscues and lack of plays from the receivers as a whole in a CFL game and expect to win. If Lumsden didn't run wild in the second half, we could've been in trouble.
Missed opportunites. On both sides of the ball we had opportunities to make big plays and we didn't. For example, Miles and Printers not connecting on a for-sure 6 points in the first half. Our CB's not making plays on the ball when they are basically stride-for-stride with the other team's receivers. (Sask had two big gains on plays like this.) If we make these plays, we don't have to worry about a last second fumble ruling.
Our defence. I'll try to be as easy on these guys as I can, but that was an awful showing for our D. Forget the fact that we were playing a rookie QB because the last time I checked, half of our defence is made up of rookies. (However, he was still a rookie QB....and that has to be the hardest position to step into and try to contribute/lead your team, but anyways...)
It all starts at the line and the Riders have the best O-line in the league....combine that with our young and inexperienced D-line and the Riders pretty much did whatever they want the whole game. Cates could've driven a Mac truck through the running lanes he had.
To me, the weakest spot on our team is our outside LB's and our HB's. Those screen plays / inside hook patterns that they ran all night were rediculous. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 17 times....well, you get the picture. How we could not adjust to that is beyond me. Aside from the first pass of the game, I don't think Durant threw a pass over 10 yards.
- The officiating was sub-par again, but not just for one team. Excluding the fumble debate, three major calls/missed calls stick out in my mind:
There was a pass interference call on Sask that I thought was bogus that lead to a TD. Casey Printers lobbed a pass up to Scott Mitchell who drew the flag. IMO, the pass was not catchable to being with and I also though it was incidental contact. I thought it was a lame call and it extended the drive and ended up leading to a Cats TD. (Not that I minded, but it was still a weak call.)
The roughing the passer call on McKay was a joke. Naut runs by Durant a split-second after he throws the ball, barely hits him with his arm and that warrants a 15-yard penalty? At any rate, that extended this drive (as it was also a second down play) and again led to 7 points.
Consistentcy is always a problem. On one play, they call Thompson with a personal foul fasemask while he is trying to break up a pass......then five minutes later, they miss one when Lumsden has his head twisted right around. Are they both penalties....Yes. But in my opinion the obvious one was missed. Generally you don't see a facemask while a CB is trying to break up a pass, but you always see them on RB's when LB's are trying to take them down. So how was this one missed?
- Now on to "the call." Sorry Cats fans (and Ted Michaels who was going nuts about it on the 5th quarter) but the right call was made. The ball looked like it hit Dressler's shoulder pads and went right through the back of the endzone. According to my understanding of the rule, the call was right.
Is it a stupid rule? That's a different question. I don't like the idea of rewarding a player for fumbling the ball through the end zone. Without even thinking about this game, the rule should be changed to something similar to the NFL's ruling. (That's just my opinion....for this particular ruling, the NFL has it right.)
Now my HUGE problem with this whole play is again the refs incompetance to being with. How do you signal a TD when a player fumbles the ball on the 2-yard line? It wasn't even close....this was another horrific call on the field. Not saying this changed anything because the ball went out of the back of the endzone pretty fast, but what if the ball had sat there a few yards into the endzone? His whistle changes everything. It stops the play and gives nobody an opportunity to recover the fumble.
And then there is the explanation the ref gave to the fans. "Sask fumbled the ball prior to reaching the endzone, by rule the ball will be placed on the 1-yard line. 1st Down Sask." The he goes over to the sidelines and chats with Charlie, then says "Hamilton wanted to challenge the play....the play in not challengeable."
Fine....but can you take a few seconds and say why? Tell us why Sask has the ball (because the ball hit Dressler's shoulder pad and went through the end zone) and tell us why the play is not challengeable (because you can't review a fumble recovery.)
Would that have been that hard?
Sorry for the novel, but I'll finish up with this comment: I don't think we were supposed to win this game. I guess the football gods thought we had enough with our one win last week. For example, Conji bouncing his first field goal attempt in the game off of the post, off of TC's head, lifted by the sound waves from Jason Farr's voice, then off the Millennium Falcon and through the uprights.
That pretty much sums it up right there. We will have better days, I'm just not sure it will be this week in Calgary. (Man, those guys are good. IMO, better than the Riders.)