After going home early one year ago, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are back in the CFL post-season party and they’ll visit Calgary’s house in the Western SemiFinal Sunday afternoon.
The Riders learned late-Friday night that they would face Calgary in Round 1 after the Stampeders’ Week 19 win in Edmonton. That rendered Saturday’s Rider game in BC meaningless which is a good thing because the Riders lost 17-6, their fourth loss in a row.
“My first thought was people talked about whether it’s better to go East or West in the playoffs but I think there was a stretch in the season where we played Calgary, BC and then went to Toronto,” Rider head coach Corey Chamblin said confidently. “I told you we’d do it (win them all). It’s one of those things where it just solidified what we thought and it happened that way.”
Oh my what a fun week this is going to be! The Riders feel like they have a home playoff game because the Rider Nation habitually takes over McMahon Stadium in Calgary and this week will be no different.
The Stampeders are the Riders’ top rival and there’s plenty of hard feelings between the two. The Roughriders have quietly simmered since blowing a fourth quarter lead in Week 4 at Calgary, their only visit to McMahon, and would love to atone for it.
Of course there’s the little matter of the Riders carrying a four-game losing streak into the playoffs. But don’t be fooled; Saturday’s loss in BC was a mirage. Darian Durant and Weston Dressler took the night off and Chris Getzlaf only played a series. On defence Odell Willis and Joe Lobendahn were excused as well.
“Glad it’s over with,” Chamblin said after the game. “Time to move onto the playoffs. We were able to see some good things out there. We didn’t stack a full deck but some guys played their hearts out.”
Chamblin has long maintained that come playoff time, his young troops would be ready. It would appear as though they are, as evidenced by the comment from Saturday’s offensive game star Brandon West.