Earlier today we saw the Hamilton Tiger-Cats fight back to defeat the Toronto Argonauts to secure their spot in this years Grey Cup. Hamilton secured their win after being shut out in the first half. Toronto fought hard, but due to the fact that they had to rely on field goals the entire game definitely hurt them.
Now we head to the west where the Saskatchewan Roughriders will take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to see who will face the Tiger-Cats next week in the final CFL matchup of the year.
When we look at this game, there’s one factor that cannot be said for the first; cold cold weather and possible snow. That being said, who doesn’t love a good snow game? We know we do! Starting out the field was cleared and at worst there was only flurries, but the announcers warned it could start building up if the weather forecasts turned out correct.
Cody Farjardo will start for the Roughriders with Zach Callaros at QB for the Blue Bombers. To begin the game the Roughriders kicked off to the Blue Bombers to give them the first chance to gain points in the matchup.
Callaros came out strong the the Bombers, successfully moving the chains on the first few plays of the drive. His luck came to a hard stop when he threw long to the end zone. At first it looked like a Blue Bombers touchdown, but after the ball bounced out of Nick Dempsey’s hands it quickly became a Roughriders interception.
Although the Roughriders had possession, the Blue Bombers came out strong on the other side as well. The defense pushed the Riders back, and forced the punt; which they almost blocked. After a quick three and out, the Bombers had possession once again.
Again, they grabbed the short end of the straw and had another quick turnover. With the Roughriders back in control, they wanted to get some points. Cody Fajardo moved the ball well, and within striking distance handed the ball off to William Powell to grab the trams first touchdown.
After a successful extra-point attempt they now led the Blue Bombers 7-0 early in the matchup.
GAME DAY ALERT: The @sskroughriders strike first with William Powell rushing it into the end zone.
Callaros wasn’t messing around on this next drive. He was able to move the ball all the way down the field and get into scoring position. Ultimately, Callaros was able to connect with Rasheed Bailey to grab the first score of the afternoon and tie the game 7-7.
Saskatchewan wanted to keep the momentum they built up so far. When presented with 3rd and 1 the team went for it and moved the chains keeping their drive alive. Fajardo almost kept it going, but after a close catch that was called out of bounds they were forced to punt it away.
Ending out the first quarter the matchup stood even at 7-7.
The second quarter didn’t start well for the Blue Bombers, with Callaros throwing it long and ultimately for an interception on the first play.
With Cody Fajardo back in control of the ball, he was out on a mission. First he broke a tackle, and drew a flag giving his team a much needed first down. Then he went long, and that play drew a pass interference call bringing the Riders within 10-yards of the end zone.
Although they got close, they couldn’t get the six. That being said, they were able to retake the lead with a successful field goal putting the Roughriders up 107 over the Blue Bombers.
GAME DAY ALERT: The @sskroughriders retake the lead with Brett Lauther securing a field goal.
Luckily for the Blue Bombers, Fajardo and the Roughriders weren’t able to capitalize on that drive keeping the score the same.
The Bombers came out this time and the team was definitely gelling better than their last few drives. Now within the 30, it looked as if the team had a fresh set of downs, but it turned out to be yet another turnover. The play was under review, but much to the Bombers dismay, it was confirmed.
It’s a close game, so it’s anyone’s to take. Whoever wins the second half will go on to take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at home in the 2021 Grey Cup.
The Roughriders will have a chance to extend their lead when they receive the ball to start the second half in todays CFL Western Final.
Saskatchewan had a very lengthy drive to start out the second half, which is exactly what you want when you have a slim lead. Effectively you’re taking time off the clock, and if you can execute add more points while doing so.
The Blue Bombers had different feelings about this. Their defense came out strong and secured a turnover of their own, giving them possession and a chance to take the lead.
Things seemed to be going their way, but they were forces to punt. But, it got much much worse. With the botched punt, they were forced to run, and effectively gave the Riders possession great field position with a turnover on downs.
Ultimately, they couldn’t find the end zone. They attempted a 36-yard field goal, which went wide; and Bombers capitalized big time. After catching the kick, they were able to bring the ball all the way to the 40, giving them a chance to either tie it up or take the lead.
The momentum seemed to be shifting in the Bombers favor after that return. Not only did they gain major yardage, Callaros was connecting with all of his passes and moving the chains bringing them closer to the end zone.
This hard work payed off. From the 3-yard line Callaros handed it off to Andrew Harris to grab the touchdown and the lead. With the extra-point good, they were now up 14-10 over the Roughriders.
GAME DAY ALERT: The @Wpg_BlueBombers regain the lead with Zach Collaros handing it off to Andrew Harris for the touchdown.
Now that Cody Fajardo had the ball again, he was on a mission; a mission to score. He came into this drive moving the ball time and time again, and ended it by finding Duke Williams who ran it long to secure another touchdown and end the 3rd. With the extra-point in the books, they now held a 17-14 lead over the Riders to start the last quarter.
Callaros and the Bombers knew that they needed to score to keep up with the Riders if they wanted to make it to the Grey Cup. They’ve had their fair share of turnovers, but to their credit it was still within striking distance.
Callaros was able to bring them to the 1-yard line with a first and goal, giving them a great opportunity to retake the lead. Calloros tried to rush it in himself but was shut down. On his second try he handed it off to Sean McGuire for the touchdown.
Sergio Castillo knocked in the extra-point to give them a 4-point lead over the Roughriders with a little over eight minutes to go.
The Riders didn’t do much with their next possession giving the Bombers the ball again. Luckily for them the Bombers had struggles of their own. With 3:07 remaining the Roughriders had the ball again and a chance to take the lead before the matchup concluded.
With Fajardo back in control, he knew this could be his last chance at a victory.
When stuck at 3rd and 2, they called a timeout, but it proved to be a successful strategy. On the next play Fajardo found his target and moved the chains, extending the drive. This only lasted so long, after going to the well one too many times they couldn’t convert on the 3rd down play.
This gave the Blue Bombers the ball with less than a minute left in the matchup and they successfully ran the time out. With this win they punch their ticket to the Grey Cup. Next week they’ll take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats where their opponent will hold a home team advantage.
The Grey Cup will be televised in Canada on TSN as usual, but fans in the United States will be able to tune in on ESPN2 or ESPN+.
Who are you rooting for next week in the Grey Cup? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.