Sunday, November 11, 2007

A couple of doozies

I was glad that the Patriots were on a bye this weekend, because it meant that I could virtually ignore the NFL in favour of the free-for-all CFL divisional semifinal games. (Although I did watch some of the Packers against the Vikings, and damn did that game surprise me. And I have to say that I called the Colts losing to the Chargers.)

Both the East and West semifinals were fantastic, wide-open games.

It was near freezing and windy in both Winnipeg and Regina today. Perfect football-playing weather.

In Winnipeg, the Blue Bombers started the game well - scoring a touchdown on their first possession - but the Alouettes scrabbled back and actually controlled most of the rest of the game. The trip to Toronto to play the Argonauts next week in the East final came down to a clutch field goal kick made by Bomber kicker Westwood with only four seconds left in the game.

And that play was set up by the Bomber defense's second line-of-scrimmage stand that forced the Als to turn the ball over on downs. An earlier wall of Bombers at the goal line prevented the Als from scoring a touchdown. The boys in blue owe their win today to their defensive linebackers.

Final score: Blue Bombers 24, Alouettes 22.

In the West semifinal, the Saskatchewan Roughriders started strong and stayed in control for the entire first half. The Green men scored an early touchdown, faked a field goal to keep another drive alive, and left the Calgary Stampeders gasping. The only spark the Stamps showed in the first half was an exhilarating defensive play near the end of the half. A pass from Kerry Joseph to Andy Fantuz at the Stampeder's end zone line bounced off the receiver's shoulder and into the hands of Stamps D-back Dwaine Carpenter, who scampered three quarters of the way down the field and, as he was about to be tackled, lateraled the ball back to Trey Young, who clambered in for the TD.

I thought that the Stampeders would have put in a better effort, but I suspect they needed an extra game or two with Burris back in the lineup to have been truly ready for today's game. Too many mental errors by the Stamps, too, who seemed a bit arrogant about it all. Not good when you're headed into Regina - and having to face those fans - for a playoff game.

I also wasn't sure that the Roughriders would play as well as they did. While they started the year gangbusters, they were a bit off in the second half of the year, and seemed like they were only able to win games against teams who were starting their backup quarterbacks.

Final score: Roughriders 26, Stampeders 24.

So next Sunday it'll be the Bombers in Toronto to play the Argonauts and the Roughriders in Vancouver to play the B.C. Lions.

That means by Friday, the streets of Vancouver will be flooded with a bunch of drunk prairie folk. Watch out, Vangroovyites.

LUNCH: Hot dogs and potato chips. Hey, I was watchin', like, eight football games.

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