Around The CFL: Stamps and Argos earn a 2012 Grey Cup rematch after a pair of close division finals
Sunday, November 19, 2017
The matchup for the 105th Grey Cup next Sunday is set, and it will be the Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders in a rematch of the 100th Grey Cup. Here's a breakdown of Sunday's divisional finals that got us there:
East Division Final: Toronto Argonauts 25, Saskatchewan Roughriders 21: This one was all Argos for a long time, as they led 7-3 after the first quarter, 17-3 at the half and 18-3 heading into the final frame. A big part of that was about ineffectiveness from Saskatchewan quarterback Kevin Glenn, who completed six of 11 passes for 87 yards with a pick-six before being pulled for Brandon Bridge, then came back in after Bridge didn't move the chains much and promptly threw two more interceptions. But the Roughriders' defence did well enough that Toronto couldn't fully capitalize on that, and Bridge did better in his second stint at the helm, cutting the lead to 18-13 before a Christion Jones punt return gave Saskatchewan a 21-18 edge with less than three minutes left:
Christion Jones has just given the @sskroughriders the lead with less than three minutes to play! Could this be the #Riders ticket to Ottawa? @TorontoArgos trail by 3!#RiderPride #CFLPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/0qW5Cbt3Z3— TSN (@TSN_Sports) November 19, 2017
After that, though, Ricky Ray led the way back for the Argos with his best drive of the game, eventually capped off by a quarterback sneak for a touchdown from Cody Fajardo. That put Toronto up 25-21 inside the final minute, and they'd hang on for the win after the Riders' final play ended in a lateral and fumble. On the day, Ray finished with 28 completions on 39 attempts (71.8 per cent) for 266 yards, a touchdown and an interception, and he played a key role in getting their eventual win here.
West Division Final: Calgary Stampeders 32, Edmonton Eskimos 28: There was a lot going on in this one, and while the discussion may be dominated by Edmonton head coach Jason Maas' bizarre decision to kick a field goal from the 13 while down seven points inside the final minutes, there was more to this than that. In particular, the Stampeders deserve a lot of credit for bouncing back from a 14-0 deficit following the first quarter. They did that thanks to effective running from Roy Finch (four carries for 81 yards and a touchdown), Jerome Messam (13 for 71 yards and a touchdown), Marken Michel (one carry for a 13-yard touchdown) and Kamar Jorden (one carry for 17 yards). Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell also bounced back after a slow start, finishing with 20 completions on 32 attempts (62.5 per cent) for 228 yards and a touchdown. For Edmonton, quarterback Mike Reilly was solid in a losing cause, completing 23 of 38 passes (60.5 per cent) for 348 yards and a touchdown.
In the end, Calgary delivered an impressive complete game. Their offence was slow to wake up, but once it got rolling, it did the job, especially on the ground. Their defence held the line, limiting the Eskimos' gains and giving the Stampeders the chance to get back in this. And now, they've earned a Grey Cup matchup with the Argonauts, a rematch of the 2012 game. We'll see how they do there, but they certainly did well to survive this one.