Team Effort, Team Win

Watching the second half of the Grey Cup game over again, I'm struck by how much this victory was a team effort in every sense of the word. Yes, Cobourne and Cahoon got the MVP and MVC awards, respectively, and deservedly so, but we wouldn't be champs right now without everyone pulling together in all three phases of the game:

[ol]- Jamel Richardson was a beast in this game. Time and again, he made tough catches at critical times (third and 3 inside the two-minute warning, big gain to get us to midfield with less than 40 seconds remaining). Glen Suitor is right: Richardson is turning into an elite receiver.

  • Kerry Carter made a tough catch on the two-point convert.
  • Brian Bratton had a crucial second and 10 catch on a post route, bringing us to the five-yard line and setting up Cobourne's TD.
    Gerald Brown picked off Darian Durant.
  • The entire D-line ramped up pressure on Durant, forcing him into throwing the Brown pick.
  • Billie Parker wrapped up Rob Bagg on a second and long, until Chip Cox came over and made an absolutely thunderous hit to force the Riders into a punt.
  • Etienne Boulay saved the game with the fumble recovery.
  • The O-line picked up Sask's defensive fronts and gave AC the time he needed to make plays.
  • Duval got his act together, shrugging off the bad punts and the missed FG to kick the game-winner.
  • Kerry Watkins, quiet for most of the game, came through with some big-time catches to move the chains in the fourth quarter.
  • Finally, Anthony Calvillo hopefully silenced everyone, including myself, who wondered if he had the ability to be a big-game player, rebounding from an atrocious first half to engineer a miraculous comeback. Inside of 8 minutes in the fourth quarter, he was golden.[/ol]

I cannot disagree with anything that you have said

Even Watkins who hadn't been used all game came up with the 17 yard reception down the middle that allowed the field goal. That rally was a total team effort, one of the most amazing in my GC memories.

Bratton determination when he returned that punt IMO represented the whole team effort in that second half, they put the Riders on their heels.

All the points made are good ones. . .

The first half was probably the worst half of football the team played all year.

The second half was amazing. . . from the clutch catches by Watkins and Richardson and Bratton and Carter. . . to Boulay's fumble recovery. . .

That said. . . despite the great comeback, had the Riders not had 13 men on the field at the end of the game, we would have lost yet another Grey Cup. Had that not happened, our great comeback wouldn't have seemed quite so great.

So many "ifs". . . if Richardson, Watkins, and/or Carter had not made those clutch catches. . . we lose. . . had Boulay not jumped on Bratton's fumble. . .we lose. . . so on and so on. . .

True, but you could also argue that had Duval done his frickin job and made the first FG attempt, Rider fans wouldn't even have had a chance to blame their team's loss on the 13th man (LOL). To me, the 13th man penalty cancels out Duval's miss. What's left is the fact that we out-scored the Riders 25-10 in the second half, fought back from deficits of 14 and 16 points, and scored 2 TDs, a two-point convert, and a FG within the last eight minutes of the fourth quarter while forcing Durant & co. into two-and-outs or INTs in the same time frame.

Nobody talks about how lucky the Riders were to catch us our offense playing its absolute worst football of the season in the first half. Or the Duval shanks, one of which gift-wrapped three points to Sask without them even having to pick up a first down. IMO the Riders did one thing well in the game: they ran the ball down our throats. Paul LaPolice outdid himself scheming an effective ground game that gave the Riders 190+ yards of rushing offense against the league's top run defense. Apart from that? We held the vaunted Canuck receivers in check for most of the game, forcing Durant into two INTs. The Sask defense wasn't particularly sparkling in the first half. They just benefited from Calvillo playing like a rookie with badly overthrown passes and a total lack of ball security (he actually fumbled the ball without any contact!). Once we started playing Alouette football, the Riders couldn't stop us.

I am not trying to disparage the Riders at all. Full credit to them for an absolute whale of a game. But (and this isn't directed at you, MJ) I am also a little irritated by the idea that we somehow lucked into our Grey Cup. Luck had nothing to do with putting ourselves in a position to win the game at the tail end of the fourth quarter. You take away the team's incredible fourth-quarter heroics and the game never even comes down to 13 men and a missed FG.

That's all true. Cates' success really surprised me. He had a poor season. . . I think he's the only starting running back in the league who didn't hit 1,000 yards. . . given that running backs generally have a relatively shorter shelf life, I sort of figured he was done. . . but he sure surprised me in the Cup game.

I actually agree that Cates is done. He doesn't seem to have that explosive first step anymore. However, LaPolice's schemes and some first-rate run blocking up front let him rip off big gains against us. They worked the jet formation to perfection, keeping our linebackers off-balance for most of the game. With the inside handoffs, sweeps, reverses, and draws, we had no idea where the run was coming from. Thankfully, Sask got a lot more conservative with the run game in the fourth quarter, allowing our line and backers to swarm to the football.

I 100% agree. We win as a team, we lose as a team. We were losing in the first half as a team, but we came back in the second - as a team - to earn us a major win. All of the guys are so nice and humble. I’ve met a few of them now, and you really get that family sense by the way they talk to us (their fans). I cannot wait for next season, I have nothing but high hopes and all the faith in the world. We are the champions.

Just watched the 4th quarter of the Grey Cup again. Man, Cobourne was a horse. He really stepped up his game in the crunch both carrying and catching the ball. Hustle, heart, north-south running, laying out and absorbing hits to pick up extra yardage for first downs -- he did it all.