Mitchell Blair | Riderville.com Staff
REGINA -- On this Thanksgiving Day long weekend, the Saskatchewan Roughriders can be thankful for their defence coming up with not only a game-saving goal-line stand, but perhaps a season-defining goal-line stand and a goal-line stand that will enable them to host a home playoff game which arguably could still be the Western final.
With the Edmonton Eskimos facing third and one from the one in the game’s final minute, quarterback Mike Reilly could not get the three feet needed to give his team the win as the Riders held on to knock off the Eskimos 14-9.
Tearrius George had a huge game for the Riders with a pair of quarterback sacks along with helping out on Edmonton’s last offensive play. He says it was just a case of wanting it a little more with the game on the line.
“A lot of hitting, a lot of banging, a lot of pushing and a lot of grunting.” George said with a laugh. “In the end he didn’t cross the goal-line and we got the job done.”
The Eskimos had appeared to score the game-winning touchdown only to learn Riders Head Coach Corey Chamblin had called a timeout just before the ball was snapped. Chamblin says it was a situation where he had to get his defence on the same page for the final play.
“It was one of those gut things,” a relieved Chamblin said. “They were changing personnel so I said I wasn’t going to go sleep with a time-out tonight so I’m going to call it. The timing was just right because I think they had scored a touchdown, but having that time-out allowed us to get settled, calm down and get lined up. Having the guys settled down and understanding what the best call was something we needed to do and it worked. At the end of the day, a win is a win. It doesn’t matter how you get it, just get it and we did.”
Darian Durant and the offence may only have managed to get 14 points, but when the ball had to be moved they did so. That being said, Durant knows they owe the defence one.
“Of course we do,” Durant admitted. “It’s a team game, but the D did what they had to do and made a big-time stop. Offensively it wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win. We know we have to get better on offence though. We had opportunities and we couldn’t capitalize.”
The win leaves the Riders alone in second place with a record of 10-5. They can clinch a home playoff game next Saturday night when the B.C Lions pay a visit to Mosaic Stadium in a 5:00 start. First place is not out of the realm, but the Riders would need the Lions to beat the Stampeders and then beat them themselves on October 25 as it would mean they would have the season series.